Thu, Oct 11, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Blogger apologizes for Federer threat in China

AFP, SHANGHAI

Roger Federer, second left, trains surrounded by security personnel in Shanghai, China, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

A blogger in China who made a death threat against Roger Federer said he had apologized, but remained at large after vowing to “assassinate” the world No. 1, according to an Internet posting.

An Internet user under the name “Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07” threatened the tennis player before he arrived to play, prompting organizers to step up security for the Shanghai Masters, which started on Sunday.

“I have not been arrested,” said a posting on China’s popular baidu.com site, where the original threat also appeared.

“I took the initiative to contact the relevant people to apologize,” said the message, which was posted at about midday on Tuesday.

The original threat read: “On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination.”

The user also posted a doctored image showing a decapitated Federer on his knees on a tennis court, with an axe-wielding executioner standing next to him.

Shanghai Masters organizers said last week ahead of the competition that they were taking the bizarre threat “seriously,” while Federer himself labeled it a “distraction” after arriving in the Chinese commercial hub.

“Obviously maybe it’s a little bit of a distraction, there’s no doubt about it,” Federer said on Sunday. “It was something just very small on a Web site, nothing clear and concrete, people just debating.”

Federer’s wife and twin daughters have not traveled to China, but he said that decision had nothing to do with the threats.

Federer has been surrounded by a dozen security guards in dark suits, who also stayed on the sidelines around the court when he practised on Tuesday. His first match was scheduled for yesterday.

In 1993, former world No. 1 Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan during a match in Hamburg.

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