Photo via Roger Federer' Facebook page
Roger Federer concedes that he did not expect the backlash that resulted from him posting a photo of himself on Facebook holding the Indian cricket jersey, accompanied by the hash-tag “#BleedBlue”.
The Swiss’ post upset Pakistani fans the world over and a letter, written by a Pakistan native, who is a self-proclaimed Federer fan, published on the Express Tribune in which he explained why he will no longer be supporting the 17-time major champion due to the photo, has gone viral.
Federer, who says he only follows cricket when he’s in Australia or sometimes in the UAE, admits he did not see the furor coming.
“It wasn’t the idea (to upset anyone). It was more of a Nike thing to be quite honest. It was a Nike campaign they had because I met some of the Indian players and I had just spent some time in India so they presented the shirt to me," Federer said in Dubai on Sunday.
"I support South Africa, everybody knows that. The idea wasn’t to spark any fire there. So I’m sorry that it did."
The letter, written by Sulaiman Ijaz, a PHD student at the University of Cambridge, said Federer’s move made his Pakistani fans feel “expendable”.
“After you posted the picture, I did an informal poll of the dozen biggest Pakistani Roger fans I know,” Ijaz wrote. “All very serious fans, mind you. Two of them were not bothered by the picture. But 10 of the 12 felt seriously hurt or betrayed. Six of those 10 said you had acted ‘like a sell-out’ and have stopped supporting you altogether.”