SHANGHAI, China -- Just 24 hours after the alleged attempt on his life was to take place, world number one ranked men's singles player Roger Federer fielded questions ahead of his upcoming appearance at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
"I felt very safe here. The authorities have been wonderful," explained Federer, who was threatened in an online chat room by an anonymous netizen using the handle Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07. "Maybe it's a little bit of a distraction, there's no doubt about it. But you have to be aware of what's happening around you."
While safety appears to be the main concern at the QiZhong Tennis Center, with heightened security surrounding the 17-time Grand Slam winner, Federer expressed his desire to capture his third title in Shanghai, his first since 2007, capping a comeback season for the Swiss national.
"I mean, look, I hope I will finish world number one at the end of the year. For me it's about trying to play well here in Shanghai and go from there," added Federer. "I've already reached my goal by getting back to world number 1 in the summer. That was for me the goal, getting back there and winning a Grand Slam, particularly Wimbledon."
Following Federer's official address, first round action kicked off in Shanghai, as Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, German Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Slovakia's Martin Klizan all advanced in straight sets.
Verdasco (pictured) needed just one hour and 28 minutes to dispose of Go Soeda, 6-2, 6-4, breaking the Japanese national on four occasions.
Seeded 16th, Kohlschreiber downed American Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 6-4, recording eight aces and capitalizing on two of three break point opportunities.
In the late contest, Klizan dropped Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci, 6-3, 6-4. Despite double faulting on four occasions, and only landing 55-percent on his first serve, Klizan was able to break Bellucci's serve four times.
First round action at the Shanghai Rolex Masters continues tomorrow.