Security stepped up at Shanghai Masters in China
Top seed Roger Federer subject of online death threat
Federer makes public appearances Saturday despite threat
Bidding to protect No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic
World No.1 Roger Federer arrived at the Shanghai Masters event in China Saturday amid tightened security after an online death threat against the Swiss superstar.
Federer was flanked by security guards as he made a public appearance to make the draw for the prestigious event with fellow tennis star Lleyton Hewitt.
He later visited an exhibition in the city where some of his Wimbledon memorabilia is on display.
A tournament spokesman told CNN: “We are fully aware of the comments that have been made and we take all such issues seriously.
“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.”
The chilling message on a Federer fan website under the name of ‘Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder O7 had read.
“On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination.”
The user also posted a doctored image of a decapitated Federer on his knees on a tennis court, next to a figure wielding an axe.
Federer, who is in Shanghai with his family, appeared unconcerned by threats as he performed his media duties.
“I am very happy to be back in Shanghai,” he told the official ATP Tour website.
“I have a lot of fans here. I have not been here for two years because so many things in my life have changed, like having a family.
I decided five days ago that I was ready to play here and I discussed it with my wife (Mirka).
“I am very happy to be back here, where I have had a lot of success in the past.”
He will face strong challenges from Novak Djokovic, who is bidding to win back the No.1 ranking, and defending champion Andy Murray when the action gets underway next week.