Shanghai:Serbia's Novak Djokovic set his sights on becoming world number one after moving just 10 points behind second-placed Roger Federer in the rankings with his Masters Cup win.
The Serb, on the brink of breaking Federer and Rafael Nadal's three-and-a-half year stranglehold on the top two spots, said being crowned the best men's player was a realistic goal next season.
"Certainly I believe that I have the quality to reach the top spot in the upcoming year or next couple of years, 10 years. That's my lifetime goal that I've been always trying to achieve," he said.
"But I learned a lesson. If I pay too much attention on rankings, it doesn't go the right way. So I just want to improve my game. I know there is still room for improvement, and I just want to get my game in the highest possible level and results will show up."
The Australian Open champion showed masterful tennis in a straightforward 6-1, 7-5 win over Russia's Nikolay Davydenko at Qi Zhong Stadium to lift his second major title this year.
Djokovic had played well only in patches at the year-end event, being held in Shanghai for the last time, but he finally revealed his true quality in a one-sided final.
The 21-year-old has occupied the third ranking since August 2007 as Federer and Nadal dominated, but he said several new faces would now also challenge for the top spots.
Britain's Andy Murray reinforced his credentials with his third victory over Federer this year, while Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro also made their debuts here.
"This year has been quite interesting in the sense that there have been more players being candidates to win the major titles, and more players winning the major titles," Djokovic said.
"I think it's good for the sport to see some new faces playing the final stages of the major events. "Of course you always want to see the big rivalry between the first two players of the world. They've been very dominant for the last four, five years. "But now you see some new faces, young players coming up. It's always good to see the rising stars, the young ones, because the future lies with them."
Federer lost number one status in August after a record 237-week run, and is now in severe danger of dropping out of the top two early next season.
The Swiss was beaten by nine different players this year as he finally hit a tricky patch of form after four years of supremacy.
Nadal missed the Masters Cup, which will now move to London as the World Tour Final, with tendinitis. "I think the interesting thing for the upcoming year is going to be the fact that there is so many players," Djokovic said.
"Now it's not only about the two players any more -- it's about five, six, seven players who are playing really well and can win against each other."