In an interview with ESPN earlier today, surprise Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren said he ran a program to clear out his tweets, like the one where he believed that Hillary Clinton participated in a Satanic ritual. At the time of the interview, the program had cleared several consecutive months of tweets dating back to June 2016. (Sandgren had previously—likely by hand—eliminated some from further back, including one from 2015 with photos of Serena Williams captioned “Disgusting.....” and one from 2012 about how stumbling into a gay club caused his eyes to “bleed.”)
Update (Jan. 24, 12:16 a.m. ET): As the New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg points out, Sandgren’s remark, “Disgusting,” was not solely in reference to photos of Serena Williams, but also linked out to an article about what she supposedly said in a match against Roberta Vinci.
Asked by Chris McKendry about the mass deletion, Sandgren said he was trying to start over:
It’s not something that I’m really necessarily embarrassed about or anything like that, it’s just creating a version of a cleaner start is not a bad call. And people can screenshot and save and distribute everything that they would like to. I know that and that’s fine. It is what it is. Just something that I thought wouldn’t be a bad way to move forward.
McKendry asked Sandgren what he meant yesterday when he said that he found some of the alt-right content “interesting.” Sandgren offered this word salad in response:
I think that was maybe incorrect, or misspoke, but definitely not alt-right content is interesting. Just, some individuals’ specific content. Just, follow information. Not really specific alt-right content that I deem of value. I think that’s very incorrect, and I don’t find information like that to be of value, or to hold on to any of those things. That’s not who I am as a person in any way.
This bears repeating: If you want to ask Tennys Sandgren about his views, there’s no need to try and vaguely link him to unsavory figures or movements. Ask him about what he has written, plainly, in his own words. Ask him, for example, about Pizzagate, and why he feels that it is “sickening and the collective evidence is too much to ignore.”
At the time of writing, it appears that Sandgren has deleted all his tweets. All that remains is a retweet of a tennis blogger who once praised him but has now been highly vocal about his political views.