Skip To Content
Fast Forward

In Grand Slam Breakthrough, Tennis Player’s Fringe Political Beliefs Scrutinized

Tennys Sandgren is a hard-hitting, big-serving Tennessean who toiled in anonymity for years in the international tennis tour’s lowest-tier tournaments. Now, he is making a breakthrough at the Australian Open — and everyone is asking about his Twitter.

That’s because he has consistently retweeted and espoused the views of major figures associated with the “alt-right” and white nationalism. His feed shows responses to a contributor to InfoWars, the prominent conspiracy theory outlet run by Alex Jones, as well as Mike Cernovich. He has also appeared to endorse the PizzaGate conspiracy theory, which resulted in a man shooting an assault rifle inside a Washington, D.C., pizza joint.

“It’s sickening and the collective evidence is too much to ignore,” wrote about PizzaGate, the New York Times reported. Sandgren appears to have deleted all of his tweets from June 2016.

After a match Monday evening, Sandgren responded to a question about the views espoused on his Twitter feed.

“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 that’s ridiculous. I think that’s ridiculous. That’s not how information works,” he said.

Sandgren was asked if he supported any views held by the “alt-right.” “I find some of the content interesting, but no I don’t,” he said. “As a firm Christian I don’t support things like that.”

On Twitter, journalists have reposted Sandgren’s tweets that showcase his seeming conspiratorial bent.

In a second interview Monday night, Sandgren decried “outrage culture,” saying, “free speech doesn’t seem to be as free as it used to be.”

On Tuesday morning, Sandgren deleted several years of tweets in order to “move forward” and create a “version of a cleaner start” after attracting negative attention.

Sandgren has had the best run of his career at this year’s Australian Open, beating two players ranked inside the Top 10 on his way to the quarterfinals. This is the first time he has made it past the first round of one of tennis’ four major tournaments.

Sandgren’s unusual first name is reportedly coincidental, and comes from his grandfather. It has nothing to do with either tennis or Tennessee.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.