The man, a blogger whose handle is "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07", had earlier posted on the Chinese website Baidu.com : "On 6 October, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination."
However, the blogger clarified yesterday that the threat was posted during a heated message board debate. "I'm terribly sorry. I was arguing with Federer fans and then I wrote something stupid ... I hope that the organisers can understand me, forgive me, and if possible send my apologies to Federer and his family."
Since the blogger had uploaded a morphed photo of a decapitated Federer kneeling beside a masked man who is holding an axe, organisers of the Shanghai Open provided the Swiss player with extra security despite him making light of the death threat.
"Obviously, maybe it is a little bit of a distraction, there's no doubt about it. But you have to be aware of what is happening around you ... that is the case anyway anywhere I go today with my fame," Federer said.
Federer felt that "something just very small on a website, nothing clear and concrete, people just debating" has been blown out of proportion. Federer rued that the media had made such a fuss. He said, "... it came out in the press. That's when things changed. It became much more public, which I'm a bit disappointed about ..."
A total of 12 guards have been seen around Federer ever since he arrived in Shanghai. Even when the Swiss great is in the middle of practice, all the guards are present on the court.
Federer's wife Mirka and twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva who usually accompany him are currently at their home in Switzerland. His family members did not fly to Shanghai because it was a hastily-arranged trip, Federer said.