It is easy in this business for a quote to turn from a dart into a timebomb. And, while Andy Murray remained stone-faced, he responded to Roger Federer's little hand grenade about the Scot's allegedly easy hat-trick of wins in Asia with a subtle bazooka blast of his own.
Slip of the tongue (or dagger), or maybe a misquote, Federer's backhanded compliment can hardly have pleased the Scot, who recently moved past the former world No1 (as he would prefer to be introduced) into third place in the rankings.
"I always try, if I can, to be positive about all the other players," Murray said, luxuriating on a Union Jack sofa. "Roger is one of the best players ever to play and I'm glad I've had the chance to play against him." Did he think Federer feared him, then? Running around his backhand, Murray set himself for a forehand winner down the line.
"Maybe," he said. "He's entitled to say whatever he wants. I hope I get the chance to play against him this week and I can let the tennis do the talking."
As for the quality of his achievements in Asia, he said, "With the depth of players these days, you can't just turn up and win a Masters tournament. The week in Tokyo, I played Rafa [in the final], David Ferrer in the semis, David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis. Those are good players, some of them great players, so it's not an easy thing to do.
"In Paris [where Federer won], Rafa didn't play, Novak [Djokovic] was injured, I was injured. Every week is different. If you play your best and not everybody's there, it's not relevant. You can only beat what's in front of you."
Federer, in sublime form , is favourite to retain his ATP World Tour Finals title, and Murray is not far behind him. But there is now an edge to a projected 15th meeting between them, perhaps in the final. Murray leads 8-6.