World No. 1 Roger Federer has received an online death threat, as reported Thursday night (via Agence France-Presse and Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times). There was a post on a popular Chinese website—baidu.com, "On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination."
The poster of the threat was anonymous, and his identity has not been discovered. The person reportedly used the online alias "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07." The threat was considered serious enough to warrant a significant increase in security for the tournament.
Shanghai tournament director Yang Yibin commented:
We hope that it was an oral threat only, and the fan won't take substantive action. However, we have to take it seriously. We have contacted the local police and we will upgrade the level of security for Roger. Meanwhile, we will also protect other players' security.
The 2012 Shanghai Masters will take place between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14. The tournament is part of the Masters 1000 series, the second tier of tournaments after the Grand Slams. It is one of the most important remaining tournaments of 2012 for determining who will be the year-end No. 1.
For the past two years it was won by current World No. 3 Andy Murray. This will be only the second time Federer has ever played at the Shanghai Masters. The last time was in 2010, when he was defeated in the finals by Murray.