Roger Federer has allegedly been targeted with a death threat while in Shanghai. The Shanghai Youth Daily reported that a user on the web site baidu.com, who goes by the name “Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07”, wrote: “On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination.” The user also allegedly posted “a doctored 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,” reported SuperSport.com.
Tournament organizers have consequently tightened security around the world No. 1.
“We hope that it was an oral threat only, and the fan won't take substantive action. However, we have to take it seriously,” the Shanghai tournament’s Yang Yibin told the Shanghai Youth Daily. “We have contacted the local police and we will upgrade the level of security for Roger. Meanwhile, we will also protect other players’ security.”
Federer is in Shanghai with his family. The tournament begins next week.
"We are fully aware of the comments that have been made and we take all such issues seriously," the tournament later added in a statement. "The Shanghai Rolex Masters has security in place for our players and every precaution is taken to make sure players are kept safe and comfortable and allowed to do the job they are here for; to play tennis and provide their fans with the thrill of watching them in action."
Reuters reported that local journalists said Shanghai municipal authorities had told local media not to report the issue.