Yes, but when one can keep one's feelings to oneself in one instance, but is compelled to voice them in another less onerous instance, it is fair to assume the feelings are deeper in the latter instance than the former.
I agree with this. I like Federer a little more than Nadal, and I won't deny that. However there are many players I like more than Federer, and these protective posts that you have noticed only get more serious and longer when people start bashing them, as our friend Joe will tell you after he tried to criticise Goffin (who is indeed one of my favourite players) for being scrawny and lightweight.
I also understand that it's difficult for the pleasant Nadal and Djokovic supporters like you and everyone else on this thread, when you are given a hard time by the unpleasant supporters from other fan bases. That's what I thought 'tards' were, and I'm certainly not one of them.
My point is you could call me a 'tard' for many other players with much more credibility than for Federer.