Tennys Sandgren has deleted 18 months’ worth of tweets after his political views came under scrutiny at the Australian Open.
The 26-year-old is enjoying a dream run in Melbourne, but, after beating fifth seed Dominic Thiem to reach the quarter-finals, found himself being questioned about his links to America’s alt-right movement.
Sandgren is an unashamed supporter of President Donald Trump, and his Twitter timeline showed retweets of several prominent members of the alt-right, including Nicholas Fuentes, who attended the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in which a protester was killed.
But, by Tuesday morning, Sandgren’s Twitter feed showed no posts since a June 2016 message supporting Brexit. A tweet from Fuentes calling Sandgren a supporter and friend also appeared to have been deleted.
Questioned on Monday, Sandgren denied supporting the alt-right, but said he found some of the content “interesting”.
“Who you follow on Twitter I feel doesn’t matter even a little bit,” he said.
“What information you see doesn’t dictate what you think or believe. To say, well, he’s following X person so he believes all the things that this person believes, I think it’s ridiculous.
“That’s not how information works. If you watch a news channel, you wouldn’t then say that person who is watching the news channel thinks everything that news channel puts out.
“I’m not concerned about it. And I don’t think any kind of engagement in that way dictates that you then are right in there with that particular person. I don’t think it works that way.
“I find some of the content interesting. But no, I don’t (support it), not at all. As a firm Christian, I don’t support things like that. I support Christ and following Him. That’s what I support.”
Sandgren appears to be a popular figure on the second-tier Challenger Tour, where he has played most of his tennis, judging by the messages of congratulations he has received, while Serena Williams’ hitting partner Jarmere Jenkins took to Twitter to voice his support.
Jenkins wrote: “This should not be a story. I can personally vouch @TennysSandgren is neither a racist or a bad guy. While we certainly differ on numerous ideological fronts Tennys is still a solid guy. I’ve known him since i was 11.”
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