HE'S making American men's tennis great again - or at least trying to.
Tennys Sandgren, the Tennessee-born bolter, continued his unheralded run in Melbourne on Monday, beating fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-7 (9), 6-3 to reach the men's quarterfinals, a feat that has stunned many considering he entered tournament play with a 2-8 all-time ATP Tour record.
And now, with his new-found form, the rising star has been forced to defend his social media habits.
Before becoming the first American to reach the quarters of the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2010, perhaps Sandgren was best known for his political hot takes on Twitter.
He's tweeted some questionable opinions, including a lengthy thread in which he beefed with Ryan Harrison and former US star James Blake about NFL national anthem protests and police brutality.
And on Monday his new-found attention brought a line of questioning over his political views.
Here's how it played out:
Q. The rise in your profile has grown attention to your social media output, which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream. For instance, Jan 15, Nicholas Fuentes, who I believe attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Do you not think you should be concerned about linking your social media?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Is that linking?
Q. I know you've written on your bio, not endorsements, but there is a regular pattern. Someone like Mike Curnovich on your feed. I believe you debated Pizzagate.
SANDGREN: Debated? That's interesting, okay.
Q. There was an exchange at some point. Were you concerned about having yourself connected to some of these controversial figures?
SANDGREN: I mean, no, I'm not concerned about it.
Look, who you follow on Twitter I feel doesn't matter even a little bit. What information you see doesn't dictate what you think or believe. I think it's crazy to think that. I think it's crazy to assume that. To say, well, he's following X person, so he believes all the things that this person believes, I think it's ridiculous. I think that'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. You wouldn't think that.
No, 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 don't see it as working that way.
I mean, you can ask me about my beliefs on things, that's cool. But I think to lump in and say, You follow this person, so then wow, who are you? Ask me who I am. I'm perfectly fine answering those kinds of questions.
Q. Do you feel you support some of the alt-right movement?
TENNYS SANDGREN: No, I don't. I don't. I find some of the content interesting. But no, I don't, not at all. As a firm Christian, I don't support things like that, no. I support Christ and following Him. That's what I support. Thanks, though.
- with AP
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