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Sometimes a little bulletin board material will spice up a match or rivalry, especially for the fans.
In 2005, after the first year of his reign, Federer was set for a quarterfinals match against an aging Agassi. Apparently, Federer was weary of the media hype centering on eighth seeded Agassi's chances of upending his newfound dominance.
Federer, as reported by Jake Niall, said, "He's not as good as he was when he was at the top of the ranking, otherwise he'd be there."
In the pregame telecast, Agassi's former coach, Brad Gilbert, said Agassi should be ready after Federer's "fighting words."
In some ways, Federer may have seemed like a villain to Agassi supporters. On the other hand, Federer's brash comments proved his confidence and mettle. He was guaranteeing a victory.
The result? One of Federer's most crushing wins (6-3, 6-4, 6-4) in a match more lopsided than the score. It seemed a rude way to treat a fading legend, but it was a statement to the entire field.
Djokovic and Nadal had occasional differences a few years ago with the former trying to harness his potential. Now, things are almost too quiet and respectful for such intense competitors.
All it takes is a purposeful or misguided comment to arouse the ire of one or both players and their respective fan bases.
This isn't to say that sports fans should root for classless behavior or incidents, but when they happen they provide an unpredictable and possibly meaningful turn in a rivalry.