(CNN) -- Novak Djokovic has trained his sights on reclaiming the world number one ranking from 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer by the end of 2012.
The Serbian relinquished top spot in July after the veteran Swiss beat Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, recording his seventh triumph at the All England Club.
But Djokovic's victory in the China Open on Sunday helped him close the gap and he can reclaim the No. 1 slot if he wins this week's Shangahi Masters and Federer does not reach the last eight.
Though that is unlikely, there are plenty more ranking points to play for in the coming weeks with tournaments in Valencia, Basel and Paris to come before the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
"The No. 1 of the world is a goal for me until the end of the year, it is definitely an objective, something I will try to achieve," Djokovic was quoted as saying by the ATP Tour's official website.
"But it's not daily on my mind. I obviously try to focus on my day-to-day commitments that I have at the tournaments and every match that I play in. This [has been] my mindset always and was working well so far."
Djokovic clinched his third straight China Open title on Sunday, celebrating by joining a troupe of dancers to show off his "Gangnam" skills, and is aiming for a strong finish to a year that has tailed off somewhat.
After his Australian Open win in a marathon match with Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard gained revenge at the French Open, beating the Serbian in the final.
Djokovic was then knocked out of Wimbledon in the semifinal by Federer, beaten in the last four of the Olympics by Andy Murray and again bested by the Briton in the U.S. Open final in September.
It has led many to predict that Murray can mirror Djokovic's stellar 2011 and go on to add many more majors to his portfolio, and the 25-year-old thinks his longtime friend and rival is more than capable.
"I don't think it's good to predict anything because tennis is such a unique sport, individual sport," he said. "A lot of factors are involved.
"Obviously mentally it's a matter of staying strong, staying healthy physically, trying to perform your best on a regular basis.
"He won his first grand slam. He could have won it already a couple years ago. He's a quality player. He's [been] one of the best players in the world in the last five years, there's no question about it.
"He's been improving ever since he got to professional tennis. He definitely is a contender to win all the grand slams, there's no question about it."
Murray starts his defense of his Shanghai Masters title against Florian Mayer on Wednesday after the German beat Australia's Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-0 in the first round, while Djokovic faces Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Elsewhere, there was a surprise defeat for No. 7 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina, as he was defeated 6-4 6-2 by Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
American John Isner, the No. 8 seed, won the a tight contest with fellow big-hitter Kevin Anderson of South Africa, winning 7-6 6-7 7-6.
Kei Nishikori, who became the first Japanese player to win the Japan Open last week, continued his good form beating China's Di Wu 6-2 6-2.
The No. 10 seed, Croatia's Marin Cilic beat Martin Klizan, of Slovenia, 7-5 6-1 while Canadian No. 12 seed Milos Raonic beat Marinko Matosevic of Australia 7-6 6-3.