There is no question that referring to Nichols as "this greatest ballerina of the past 20 years" on the same weekend that Ferri retired was a backhanded slap at Ferri - but it's also an insult to Susan Jaffe, Nina Ananishvislli, Wendy Whalen and a host of other ballerinas. If he truly thinks that Nichols is in a class above all others then he should have told us so overtly - and told us why.
But just calling her "dull" doesn't tell much of anything except that mr Macaulay doesn't like her.
In the context of the role, what does it mean? Does he mean she was restrained? Didn't emote sufficiently? Wasn't sufficiently hysterical at the death of Tybalt?
Based on his writing so far, and from his earlier criticism in The New Yorker, I'm fairly certain Macaulay has the ability to go into great detail about these judgements.
Macauley should be trying to enlighten his reading audience rather than get off personal barbs at the dancers. Snide, sarcastic remarks (see those on Georgina Parkinson and Irina Dvorovenko today) or harsh judgments without qualifiers (like "dull" for Veronika) are personal attacks and show a deep disrespect for artists who are certainly doing the best to honor their craft and give their all to the audience.
Be careful what you wish for.