Andy Murray admits his proximity to world number one Novak Djokovic in the rankings has caused him to reassess his short-term targets.
A straight-sets victory in the final of the Shanghai Masters over Roberto Bautista Agut, winning 7-6 (7/1) 6-1 in 96 minutes, gave the Scot his sixth title of the year.
More importantly it moved him within touching distance of Djokovic, who lost to Bautista Agut in the semi-finals.
Murray has now collected just 915 points fewer than Djokovic in 2016. He next heads to Vienna and then Paris and two more titles could well see him replace the Serb at the summit on November 7.
With Murray currently in top form, having won 20 sets in succession following on from his victory at the China Open in Beijing a week ago, he has now set his sights on the Serbian’s position at the top of the rankings – although he admits overhauling the 12-time grand slam winner will be difficult.
“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,” he told Sky Sports.
“But Novak will win matches. He is the best player in the world. I don’t think he has lost an indoor (match) in a long time.”
Murray’s form is on an upward curve and the Brazil Olympic gold medallist is pleased with how changes to his game have made a difference.
“In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made improvements,” he added.
“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.”
Murray’s victory in Shanghai was his 41st career title and achieved with very little fuss once he had comfortably negotiated a first set tie-break.
Things went with serve until Murray broke his Spanish opponent to take a 4-3 lead but when Bautista Agut broke back and then made it 6-5, Murray took the first set to a tie-break with a love game.
He cruised through the tie-break, losing just the one point, to make it 19 sets won in a row before three breaks of service, to his opponent’s one, in the second set eased the Briton into a 5-1 lead from where he closed out the match with a number of 100mph second serves and powerful groundstrokes.