As long as Federer wins, history will not care who he defeats
Here comes history now at
It's not that Federer was lying -- not even to himself -- when he said that Sunday's shock elimination of archrival
But, you see, Federer was talking in English when he first addressed the issue, and that complicates things. His ability to speak four languages isn't just a way to communicate; he once insisted that he actually
Fed-watchers have long noted that he allows himself to be more open, more expressive in
Why he does this is anyone's guess, but maybe it's no coincidence that, when he was at his most emotionally raw, Federer spent his formative junior years at the Swiss tennis center in Ecublens, in the heart of French-speaking Switzerland, a homesick and hot-tempered teen who once cleaned toilets for a week after ripping a tarp with a hurled racket. He later learned how to contain himself on-court, to mask emotions behind an impassive mask, but they pour out in tears after nearly every Grand Slam still. Maybe speaking French accesses that young, temperamental Federer like no other language, and he can't help but reveal more than he'd like.
Because on Monday, too, the 27-year old Federer drew back the curtain, just a bit more, when he began taking questions in French. Asked how his wife,
So: As much as Federer would like the world to think he's still taking this tournament the clichéd "one match at a time", as much as he needs to concentrate on his quarterfinal clash Wednesday against the dangerous
Federer knows: He is only three wins away, with a 38-1 record against the five other players still alive in Paris. This is his best chance to win his first French Open, to tie
But when asked, in French, about that dream final against Rafa, Federer said, "Never mind who you beat -- as long as you win."
A decade ago,