Breakout American tennis star blasts media after being linked to the alt-right movement on Twitter

  • American tennis star Tennys Sandgren blasted the media on Wednesday over recent scrutiny of his Twitter use.
  • Sandgren had appeared to be linked to the alt-right movement, debating subjects like Pizzagate while sharing content from alt-right websites and interacting with alt-right media members.
  • Sandgren said on Wednesday that his "fate has been sealed" in the minds of the media.

After being knocked out from the Australian Open in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, American breakout tennis star Tennys Sandgren blasted the media for its coverage of him in recent days.

Sandgren, 26, made a surprise run through the Australian Open, but faced scrutiny over past Twitter use that seemed to support the alt-right movement.

Previous tweets and retweets from Sandgren's account showed him debating Pizzagate, arguing that the media was not covering Hillary Clinton engaging in Satanic rituals, and interacting with alt-right media members, one of whom attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

US tennis player Tennys Sandgren
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US tennis player Tennys Sandgren
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 03: Tennys Sandgren returns against Greg of Australia during day eight of the 2007 U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2007 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
25 MAY 2010: Tennys Sandgren of the University of Tennessee pumps his fist after a point against the University of Southern California during the Division I Men's Tennis Championship held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, GA. USC defeated Tennessee 4-2 for the national title. Jamie Schwaberow /NCAA Photos via Getty Images
PARIS - MAY 31: Tennys Sandgren of USA hits a backhand during the Boy's Singles First Round match against Stanislav Poplavskyy of Ukraine on day eight of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 31, 2009 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Tennys Sandgren of the USA celebrates his win against Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan during 2016 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park on January 13, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 12: Tennys Sandgren (USA) stretches to return the hard shot during the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships on April 12, 2017 at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 09: Tennys Sandgren of USA plays a forehand in his first round match against Hyeon Chung of Korea during day two of the ASB Men's Classic at ASB Tennis Centre on January 9, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Tennys Sandgren of the United States serves in his first round match against Jeremy Chardy of France on day two of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: Tennys Sandgren of the United States looks on in his quarter-final match against Hyeon Chung of South Korea on day 10 of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: Tennys Sandgren of the United States falls in his quarter-final match against Hyeon Chung of South Korea on day 10 of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
Tennis - Australian Open - Quarterfinals - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 24, 2018. Tennys Sandgren of the U.S. leaves after losing against Chung Hyeon of South Korea. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

In his post-match press conference, Sandgren read a prepared statement from his phone.

"You seek to put people in these little boxes so that you can order the world in your already assumed preconceived ideas," Sandgren said. "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 to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be."

Sandgren was asked about his Twitter activity on Monday and said he found some of the content "interesting," but did not necessarily support the views of the alt-right.

"I find some of the content interesting, but no I don't [support the alt-right]," he said. "Not at all. No, as a firm Christian, I don’t support things like that, no. I support Christ and following him and that’s what I support."

Sandgren on Monday also compared his social media activity to watching the news, saying that simply watching the news doesn't mean someone agrees with all of it.

"I think that’s ridiculous. That’s not how information works. If you watch a news channel you wouldn’t then say that that person who’s watching a news channel thinks everything that that news channel puts out. You wouldn’t think that ... I mean, you can ask me about my beliefs on things, that’s cool. But I think to lump in, just say, 'Well you follow this person,' so then, wow who are you?"

Sandgren also came under fire for criticizing Serena Williams via Twitter, when he quote-tweeted an article about Williams cursing during a match and wrote "disgusting." Sandgren also had other tweets in which he appeared to be rooting against Williams in matches.

Williams said via Twitter Sandgren owes an apology for his Twitter activity.

On Tuesday, Sandgren said he deleted his past tweets, saying he was looking for a fresh start.

On Wednesday, while reading his statement, Sandgren said the media sought to "dehumanize" him.

"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," Sandgren said. "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."

Sandgren refused to answer any questions about his statement afterward.

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