Andy Murray believes he will probably have to wait until next year to reach the world number one spot at the expense of Novak Djokovic as the two are on a final collision course at the Paris Masters.
The Briton will top the ATP world rankings if he wins the indoor tournament at the Bercy Arena and Serbian Djokovic does not reach the final, or if he makes it to the final and the world number one falters before the semis.
"I can obviously try and win my matches, but even if I win all of my matches this week, I still might not get there," world number two Murray told a news conference on Monday.
"So it's in Novak's hands. He's ahead obviously just now, so if he wins his matches and gets to the latter stages of the last two tournaments, then he'll most likely keep the No. 1 spot."
Murray has been in fine form lately, winning 15 tour matches in succession since his defeat by Japan's Kei Nishikori in the U.S. Open quarter-finals.
Murray then won three tournaments in a row - the China Open, the Shanghai Masters and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna on Sunday.
"I don't feel any differently now to how I did kind of six, eight weeks ago. My goal wasn't to finish No. 1 at the end of this year," he said.
"I wanted to finish this year as strong as possible and I think there is a lot stronger chance of doing it in the early part of next year, which is what I targeted rather than this week."
World number three Stan Wawrinka, who has a potential semi-final clash against Djokovic in Paris, thinks the Serbian remains a formidable opponent even if he has been in less impressive form after completing his career slam at the French Open in June.
"As a player, I think it's going to be rather nice to see if they are going to be able to come closer. Novak just lost three matches in three tournaments. People talk," the Swiss said.
"But for the rest, he always won. We are saying Novak is in a crisis, but he's still No. 1 and, at worst, still finish No. 2, top 2, so the crisis is okay, no?"