Many chose to read bad intentions and bitterness into Federer's take on Murray, who has beaten the Swiss superstar the last four times they have played and recently overtook Novak Djokovic on the official ranking list.
However, Federer's words, while delivered bluntly, were right on the mark.
Trading positions three and four is of no interest to Murray and nor should it be. As Federer correctly asserted, what the young Scot is really concerned with is breaking into the dominance of tennis' big two – Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Another crucial point is that no one has been under any doubts that Murray was among the best three players in the world for months now, whatever the computer said.
His form since the midpoint of last year has been exceptional, and in terms of real performance he probably overtook Djokovic around nine months ago.
The ATP rankings serve a valuable purpose, and it is right that in terms of seeding for tournaments, players are rewarded for their efforts over a 12-month period.
However, the ATP system often fails to reflect recent form, which is why we brought in the Yahoo! Sports Power Rankings a few months back.
Once again we take a look at who's hot and who's not as the countdown to the French Open continues in earnest. (Prior rankings are in parentheses.)
Yahoo! Sports men's tennis power rankings
1. (1) Rafael Nadal: Can anyone beat him on clay – and how?
2. (2) Andy Murray: In his weakest part of the season but still growing in confidence
3. (3) Novak Djokovic: Feeling good after hometown victory in Belgrade
4. (4) Roger Federer: In need of a pre-French Open boost
5. (7) Fernando Gonzalez: Quietly putting together a quality year
6. (6) Juan Martin Del Potro: Starting to look more assured on clay
7. (8) Fernando Verdasco: Fierce competitor is back to full fitness
8. (5) David Ferrer: Could be primed for a big Roland Garros run