According to "AFP" news agency report, Federer has clarified that he does not support the Indian cricket team. This was after Indian and Pakistani fans were involved in a "bitter rivalry" over his "BleedBlue" image, according to reports.
Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam winner, endorses Nike sportswear. The same brand is sponsor of Indian cricket team. The photo was also promoted by Nike, on Twitter. It has now emerged that the photograph was for marketing purposes only.
The Swiss ace was seen in a picture on his Facebook account admiring the Indian blue jersey with the caption "Dressing up for a Gentleman's game today. #BleedBlue". This was on February 15 when India and Pakistan teams faced off at Adelaide Oval in the World Cup. India won by 76 runs.
"It was more of a Nike thing to be quite honest. It was a Nike campaign they had because I met some of the Indian players and I had just spent some time in India so they presented the shirt to me.
"I support South Africa, and everybody knows that. The idea wasn't to spark any fire and I'm sorry if it did that," Federer was quoted as saying today in Dubai.
"The photograph certainly irritated Federer's legion of fans in Pakistan. One, a student at Cambridge University in England and writing in the Express Tribune, an English language newspaper in Pakistan, claimed he had deleted all his Federer photos and taken a brief opinion poll in which ten out of 12 Pakistanis apparently felt hurt or betrayed," the report said.
Federer said he supported the Indian cricket team "a little bit" and depended on where he was in the world.
"When I'm in America definitely not. When I'm in Europe definitely not. But then when I'm in Australia and here (in the UAE) a little bit sometimes. So it really depends where I am in the world which sport I follow," he said.
Federer is a close friend of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar. Last month, some of the Indian cricketers met him at the Australian Open and Virat Kohli had posted a picture with the Swiss star, on Twitter.