Chinese officials took themade against Roger Federer ahead of the upcoming Shanghai Masters tournament seriously.
Perhaps it was only after security was increased around the Swiss tennis star that the fan who made the threat realized that words matter.
According to an Italian sports media reported covered in Sports Illustrated, the fan has apologized.
The fan, who posted on the popular Chinese site Baidu.com under the handle "Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07" says he got caught up in the heat of a message board debate and said something he didn't mean.
"I'm terribly sorry," the poster said. "I was arguing with Federer fans and then I wrote something stupid ... I hope that the organizers can understand me, forgive me, and if possible send my apologies to Federer and his family."
Earlier, Federer admitted he was distracted by the incident.
"Obviously 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," he said, according to Agence France Presse. "But that is the case anyway anywhere I go today with my fame and all that stuff."
Federer also said he was disappointed with the way the story came out in the media, according to SI.
"It became much more public, which I'm a bit disappointed about, that it did come out in the press," Federer said. "It was something just very small on a website, nothing clear and concrete, people just debating. That it makes that big news is a bit surprising to me."