Tennys Sandgren rips media for alt-right questions while Serena requests an apology

Tennys Sandgren was the last American standing at the Australian Open. (AP)
Tennys Sandgren was the last American standing at the Australian Open. (AP)

Tennys Sandgren’s run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open ended on Wednesday with the Tennessee native falling in straight sets to Hyeon Chung, a rising 20-year-old star from South Korea.

The story of his controversial Twitter account, however, did not end. After his loss, Sandgren ripped the media for questions about tweets that seemingly favored alt-right ideologies and Serena Williams tweeting that an “entire group of people … deserves an apology.”

Sandgren was the last American man standing in the singles competition at the Australian Open. While the 97th-ranked player in the world reaching the quarters of any major might be the grounds for plenty of positive media attention — particularly for an American male named Tennys — Sandgren’s activity on social media precluded any feel-good narrative.

Earlier in the week, the 26-year-old was asked pointed questions about his Twitter account, which featured many likes and responses to controversial alt-right figureheads like Mike Cernovich and Alex Jones. Sandgren denied that following or responding to such accounts was a tacit endorsement, even if some of his responses to tweets concerning transgender rights and black and Muslim-Americans seemed to prove otherwise.

Oh, and remember “Pizzagate,” the alt-right fueled idiocy that Hillary Clinton was running a pedophilia ring in the basement of a Washington pizza shop? Sandgren once tweeted that the “collective evidence” to the roundly debunked conspiracy theory was “too much to ignore.”

Sandgren responded to the rush of questions by deleting all of his tweets save one on Tuesday.

ESPN announcer Chris Fowler said during Wednesday’s match that Sandgren was a “thoughtful guy” who deserved more scrutiny from people before they applied their labels.

Serena Williams was presumably not around to see Fowler’s plea as she tweeted “turns channel” at the start of Sandgren’s match.

Here’s the statement Sandgren read to the media after the loss to Chung before requesting questions that only pertained to his match:

“You seek to put people in these little boxes so that you can order the world in your already assumed preconceived ideas. You strip away any individuality for the sake of demonizing by way of the collective.

“With a handful of follows and some likes on Twitter, my fate has been sealed in your minds. To write an edgy story, to create sensationalist coverage, there are a few lengths you wouldn’t go to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be.

“You would rather perpetuate propaganda machines instead of researching information from a host of angles and perspectives while being willing to learn, change, and grow. You dehumanize with pen and paper and turn neighbor against neighbor. In so doing, you may actually find you’re hastening the hell you wish to avoid, the hell we all wish to avoid.

“It is my firm belief that the highest value must be placed on the virtue of each individual, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s my job to continue on this journey with the goal of becoming the best me I can and to embody the love Christ has for me, for I answer to Him and Him alone.

It’s hard to predict where this story will go from here, but it’ll certainly be interesting whatever path it takes.

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