8 Oct 2012

Federer admits death threat a distraction

11:10 am on 8 October 2012

Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer admits a bizarre online death threat was a distraction in his build-up to the Shanghai Masters but says he's now focusing on the on-court action.

Tournament officials gave assurances on players' security after hate messages from a blogger, who calls himself "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" appeared on the popular baidu.com site.

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

The 17-times grand slam champion, who has a first-round bye, says he first became aware of the issue about 10 days ago, before it hit the headlines. But he says he feels safe in China, praising the authorities.

Federer's wife and twin daughters haven't travelled to China but Federer says that decision has nothing to do with the threats.