Roger Federer has been targeted by an online death threat according to a report on Thursday. The Swiss maestro is in Shanghai for next week’s masters tournament. Organizers have tightened security and taken extra precautions to protect Federer and his family. The threat was posted by a blogger on a popular Chinese website.
“On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination,” read the message, posted under the name ‘Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07’ on baidu.com.
The blogger also posted an altered image showing a decapitated Federer on his knees on a tennis court, with a masked executioner dressed in black and holding an axe posing next to him.
Police and other government agencies have been contacted to increase security around Federer, an official with the tournament’s organising committee told the Shanghai Youth Daily.
“We hope that it was an oral threat only, and the fan won’t take substantive action. However, we have to take it seriously,” Yang Yibin was quoted as saying.
“We have contacted the local police and we will upgrade the level of security for Roger. Meanwhile, we will also protect other players’ security.”
Yang gave few details of the extra security, but he said Federer’s arrival time was not disclosed to media and that he and his family were ushered through a VIP channel and driven straight to their hotel after flying in to Shanghai.
Update: Blogger apologizes (via USA Today)
The Baidu.com user Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07 wrote:
“I’m terribly sorry. I was arguing with Federer fans and then I wrote something stupid. I hope that the organizers can understand me, forgive me and if possible send my apologies to Federer and his family.”
Federer said he was made aware of the incident before it went public. The decision not to bring his wife and twin daughters to Shanghai had nothing to do with the threat, he said.
The world No. 1 said he was pleased with the response by Shanghai officials, but was confused when the report of the threat went public.
In 2009, Federer was attacked on court by a fan during the Roland Garros final against Robin Soderling.
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