Wimbledon 2013: World's two best players - what makes them tick?

It turns out Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have plenty in common – apart from their taste in literature – but Paul Newman points out some of the key differences between the two rivals

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Novak Djokovic

Girlfriend Jelena Ristic. Met Djokovic at high school and studied economics in Milan before working for a Libyan oil company in Monte Carlo. Regularly accompanies Djokovic on tour.

Dogs Pierre the poodle. Travels around Europe with Djokovic and is with him at Wimbledon.

Also good at Skiing: comes from a family of professional skiers and refuses to accept non-skiing clauses in his endorsement contracts.

I wish I hadn't said that After Andy Roddick mocked him at the 2008 US Open because of his many ailments and injuries, Djokovic told the crowd: "Andy was saying that I have 16 injuries in the last match, so obviously I don't, right? That's not nice." He was jeered by home fans for the rest of the tournament.

Oolitics A fierce Serbian patriot, Djokovic made a speech four years ago via a video link at a rally in Belgrade protesting about Kosovo's moves towards independence.

Business interests Has sponsorship deal with Mercedes Benz; funded family-run restaurants and cafés in Serbia. Has entered into a partnership with CAA Sports, a division of the Hollywood talent firm.

Books Favourite writer is Yugoslav Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ivo Andric. "During tournaments I like to read easy books, mostly fiction."

What he eats His gluten-free diet means fresh berries, orange juice, herbal tea and gluten-free cereal are a mainstay. Was required to cut down his intake of meat, particularly before matches; now eats more vegetables.

Staying calm before a match Visits a Buddhist temple: "It's very calm and quiet. There is a huge amount of pressure and stress, so you need to have a place where you know you can switch off and recharge your batteries."

Twitter thoughts "In my language, we say: 'Mir Boziji, Hristos se rodi' meaning 'May God bring you peace, the Christ has been born'!" (January 2013)

Andy Murray

Girlfriend Kim Sears. Daughter of Nigel Sears, former head coach of women's tennis at Lawn Tennis Association. Studied English literature at University of Sussex. Sells her own paintings, particularly of animals.

Dogs Border terriers Maggie (Mayhem) and Rusty (Rascal). Maggie has her own Twitter account (with some assistance from Kim Sears).

Also good at Football: had a trial with Rangers before deciding to concentrate on tennis. Grandfather played for Hibernian.

I wish I hadn't said that Murray joked, during a joint interview with Tim Henman in 2006, that he would be supporting "whoever England are playing against" in the World Cup. Ever since then he has had to deny suggestions that he dislikes the English.

Politics Keeps cards close to his chest. When asked last year for his opinion on a referendum in Scotland, he replied: "That's a fairly loaded question, I think. I'll step past that one. No comment."

Business interests Lucrative contracts with Adidas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Rado watches and Jaguar have meant Murray is now No 32 on the Sports Rich List, both on and off the court.

Books Has not read a book since failing to finish a Harry Potter volume. "I go on the internet a lot and read stuff online, but I don't read books."

What he eats Murray normally eats six meals a day, with chicken and rice a favourite pre-match meal. Bananas have become an important part of his snacking regime after he shelved his distaste (having labelled them "pathetic fruit") when his nutritionist extolled their virtues. Also developed a taste for post-match sushi.

Staying calm before a match "I watch TV, comedy TV, I would say. But I don't go to a temple."

Twitter thoughts "If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit why don't more people get it?" (June 2013)

Additional research by Natalie Room and Kashmira Gander

Friendship on hold

Following similar paths as teenagers, both players trained in foreign countries – Djokovic in Germany and Murray in Spain. However, the fierceness of their battles means friendship is on hold.

As Djokovic put it: "I really like the guy, but how can you be best friends with a guy who you know you are going to be doing battle with? For now, we must keep a professional distance."

Where to watch

With bids for Centre Court tickets reaching £71,000 for a pair, fans on more frugal budgets can cheer Murray on around the UK.

The game, which starts at 1.50pm and is presented by Sue Barker, will be on screens across the capital, including Westfield Stratford, Granary Square in King's Cross, and the Boxpark complex in the East End.

BBC viewers with 3D sets will be able to watch the final via the HD red button.

Love Wimbledon will be hosting a makeshift "court" in the town centre kitted out with a large screen and deckchairs.

BBC Big Screens will be bringing the event to 21 communities, including Belfast, Liverpool, Swindon and Edinburgh.

Proud Scots can also catch the final at the Dunblane Hotel, Stirling, in the town where Murray grew up. The Woodend Barn arts venue in Aberdeen is also hosting a big-screen event.

Churches in Southampton will be screening the game, with toys available for younger attendees.

For anyone who accidentally falls asleep in the sun, highlights will be shown at 11:35pm on BBC1.