Wimbledon final: Andy Murray ready for latest instalment of his rivalry with Novak Djokovic
Last Updated: 07/07/13 9:37am
A familiar challenge awaits Andy Murray on Sunday when he attempts to end Britain's 77-year wait for a male Wimbledon singles champion.
Despite a tournament filled with shock results, the top two seeds - Novak Djokovic and Murray - have made it through to the final.
The 26-year-olds were born a week apart in May 1987 and have a long on-court history dating back to the junior ranks and including three Grand Slam finals.
Murray: Route to the final
R1: Becker 6-4 6-3 6-2
R2: Lu 6-3 6-3 7-5
R3: Robredo 6-2 6-4 7-5
R4: Youzhny 6-4 7-6 6-1
QF: Verdasco 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5
SF: Janowicz 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3
Djokovic leads the overall head-to-head 11-7 and has won three in a row since Murray claimed his maiden major title last September with a five-set victory in the US Open final.
But it was the Scot who prevailed in straight sets in their only previous meeting on grass in the semi-final of last year's Olympic Games at the All England Club, en route to the gold medal.
Murray is appearing in the Wimbledon final for the second year in a row; Roger Federer reduced him to tears with victory in four sets 12 months ago, while Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal for the title in 2011 in his only previous final appearance in SW19.
The British number one knows exactly what to expect from his opponent on Centre Court.
"There is some similarities there, in terms of if you look at stats and stuff. I mean, both of us return well. That's probably the strongest part of our games. We both play predominantly from the baseline," said Murray.
"We both move well, but a different sort of movement. He's extremely flexible and he slides into shots, even on the courts here. He slides more. He's quite a bit lighter than me. So I'd say I probably move with more power, and he's much more flexible than me."
Murray admits the nature of his friendship with Djokovic has had to change over the years due to their increasing rivalry.
"We have a professional friendship, I think, now. When we were younger, it was more friendly," he said.
Djokovic: Route to the final
R1: Mayer 6-3 7-5 6-4
R2: Reynolds 7-6 6-3 6-1
R3: Chardy 6-3 6-2 6-2
R4: Haas 6-1 6-4 7-6
QF: Berdych 7-6 6-4 6-3
SF: Del Potro 7-5 4-6 7-6 6-7 6-3
"We've spent a lot of time discussing various issues within tennis and doing what I think sometimes what was best for the sport. But I don't think it goes more than that right now. I would hope when we finish playing, it will be different.
"But it's just hard, because playing in big, big matches with a lot on the line, you can't be best of friends when that's happening."
Djokovic came through the longest semi-final in Wimbledon history against Juan Martin del Potro on Friday, the Serb eventually prevailing 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 in four hours and 44 minutes.
"Physically, even in the fifth set, there was a lot of falls, sliding, running, long exchanges, and I still feel I'm okay," he said.
"Of course, I'll be a little bit more tired than I was after my previous matches. It's not the first time I've been in this situation.
"I've been in worse situations actually before, like in the Australian Open in 2012, or on several occasions where I managed to recover, managed to win the title in the final, managed to feel fresh and play another six hours. I'm ready and I'm looking forward to that."