3/1/13 5:02 PM | Johan Lindahl
Roger Federer can relate to his longtime rival Nikolay Davydenko on many levels, including the fact that both veterans are now fathers, traveling the ATP with their young children.
Federer, who posed his 19th win in 21 meetings with the quirky Russian who once stood inside the top 5, understands his longtime opponent from all angles.
While Davydenko complained after the Dubai loss of losing his concentration during matches, Federer says he has taken steps to prevent that kind of dangerous slide in attitude in his own game. "I kind of know what he means. I think once you play 500, 800, 1000 matches, maybe sometimes you're like 'you know, you try hard but it's okay to lose.'
"That's not the mindset you want to have, you know. Even though it's normal to lose some, you always want to have the fire to come through somehow at the end."
The methodical Swiss has his own system for preventing any hint of burnout. "I've really tried to fight that all the time to make sure I have enough fire going. And the motivation is not the issue.
"Because you have done it (practice and play) for so many years, that's why you need to keep practices, exciting matches, your daily routines. Even though you keep it the same way, you have to have fun doing it; otherwise it becomes a bit of a drain.
"I always change it up where I have practiced in the past, with whom I've practiced, and, make it fun with my entourage. Now obviously my kids, it's a totally new thing, so it is for Nikolay. Those things are inspirational and motivational, I would think."
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