When I first heard of the threat I immediately imagined a printed or handwritten threat being pushed through Federer's letterbox/mailbox (at home or wherever he happened to be staying at the time), or in some form delivered to Federer, and thus I reacted with horror.
But, when it turned out to be a post on a message board, I now see what Federer's getting at. It's been blown out of proportion.
For instance I once posted on Facebook, in response to an incredibly annoying TV advert, something along the lines of "Apologies to their fans, but I can't put up with this any longer, I'm going to kidnap [celebrity]," and received a few "lols" and "good lucks" (as well as several likes) from a few of my mates.
Now, clearly I had no intention of ever
carrying this out because 1)
I actually don't have any ill feeling toward this person, 2)
I really wasn't that
bothered by it, and 3)
it was a glib remark, a joke that everyone who saw it was in on and "got."
To the uninitiated however, it could have been perceived as a genuine threat.
Hand on heart, I cannot honestly say that I've never threatened someone on the internet, back when I was a young teenager at least (which feels like a long time ago now
). If I have it's never been anything more than an empty threat, resulting from my teenage, angsty, overly emotional self, not yet having the mental maturity and strength to deal with the stupidity we so often see online (particularly on message boards). Basically, I was like those people you see on youtube comments, with all the "sftu stop makin fun o my grama Ill beat u up" sort of nonsense.
I don't ever remember doing anything specific, but then why would I? Words said in the heat of the moment with no fear of any consequences, I wouldn't have given it a seconds thought. I only have vague recollections, similar to how we don't remember every argument we ever have with our parents when we were teens.
Saying that, I've not seen the image that he posted along with the message, but knowing how the media like to sensationalise everything I'm reluctant to believe it was as gruesome as has been claimed.
I guess my point is that this sort of thing is easily done, and I can totally understand where he's coming from when he says "I was arguing with Federer fans and then I wrote something stupid." Good on him for apologising, hopefully he, the Shanghai organisers, and Federer himself can move on from this media frenzy.