Australian Open

Serena Williams tells Tennys Sandgren to apologise for controversial tweets

The unheralded American has come under increased scrutiny over his political views after run to Australian Open quarter-finals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 12:28pm

Serena Williams has called on Tennys Sandgren to apologise after the unheralded American exited the Australian Open amid a backlash over his political views.

Sandgren, a devout Christian, bowed out of the quarter-finals in Melbourne in straight sets following scrutiny over his politics and apparent support for far-right groups in the US.

Williams had been the subject of a Sandgren post on Twitter, with the 26-year-old describing the former world number one’s behaviour during a 2015 US Open match against Roberta Vinci as “disgusting”.

Williams, who on Tuesday confirmed her comeback at the Fed Cup next month following a near year-long absence because of pregnancy and subsequent birth of her daughter, ripped Sandgren in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.

Williams had earlier taken aim at Sandgren as the broadcast of his last eight defeat to South Korea’s Chung Hyeon got under way.

“Turns channel,” the 36-year-old star wrote.

Following his Australian Open defeat, Sandgren lashed out at the “dehumanising” media after wiping his Twitter account.

Among his tweets was one where he appeared to back a debunked online conspiracy in 2016 which linked Hillary Clinton to a supposed child sex abuse ring at a Washington pizzeria.

He also retweeted a video from white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes.

After his match with Chung, he read a pre-prepared, sermon-like, statement at his post-match press conference that left a stunned silence.

“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,” he said.

“You dehumanise with pen and paper and turn neighbour against neighbour.

“In so doing, you may actually find you’re hastening the hell you wish to avoid, the hell we all wish to avoid.”

Sandgren had earlier denied that he supported far-right figures and said who he followed on Twitter “doesn’t matter”.

“I don’t. I don’t [support them]. I find some of the content interesting,” he said of the controversial figures.