Novak Djokovic (L) and Andy Murray (R)
Novak Djokovic remembers when he was about 11 and meeting a boy his age named Andy Murray.
The young Murray from Dunblane, Scotland, was "quite pale," recalled the Serbian, known as "The Joker" for his wisecracks.
Back then, they were playing on the juniors' circuit "just trying to play tennis and enjoy the game," Djokovic said. Little did either know that later in life they would keep running into each other on tennis's biggest stages.
On Sunday, Djokovic and Murray meet for their third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. It is the latest rematch in a rivalry that Djokovic describes as unique because they've known each other since childhood.
The Serbian world number one Djokovic defeated Spaniard David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday. Murray downed Swiss world number two Roger Federer in five sets -- 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2 -- to reach the final on Friday.
"It's nice to see somebody that you grew up with doing so well," the 25-year-old Serbian player said Saturday. "We know each other since we were 11/12 years old. I guess that adds something special to our rivalry."
Djokovic rose to stardom first, winning the 2008 Australian Open at the age of 20. Now, the No. 1-ranked player owns five Grand Slam trophies and is aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win three in a row at Melbourne.
The third-ranked Murray is the latest addition to the so-called Big Four of men's tennis, which also includes No. 2 Roger Federer and 11-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal. The group has combined to win 33 of the last 34 Grand Slams.
Murray is striving for his second Grand Slam title after winning at the US Open, where he beat Djokovic in the final to end a 76-year drought for British men at the majors.