Andy Murray conceded that dethroning world number one Novak Djokovic in 2016 may be a step too far, despite claiming another title at the Shanghai Masters.
Sunday's straight-sets win over Roberto Bautista Agut handed Murray a second consecutive tournament win, having triumphed in Beijing last week.
The Briton's 13th Masters crown closed the gap at the top of the rankings, but Murray is eyeing next year as the optimum time to overhaul the dominant Serbian.
"In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made improvements," Murray told Sky Sports.
"I have been moving forward better and changed the direction of the ball better. I have also come up with some bigger serves when I have needed them.
"My goal wasn't to finish number one at the end of this year, but in the early parts of next year there is an opportunity - 900 points doesn't seem like loads.
"But Novak will win matches. He is the best player in the world. I don't think he has lost an indoor game in a long time."
Djokovic, who was beaten by Bautista Agut at the semi-final stage in Shanghai, will next compete at the Paris Masters, which he was won in each of the last three years.