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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Tennys Sandgren Now Enjoys A "Very Intense" Friendship With Glenn Greenwald

Illustration for article titled Tennys Sandgren Now Enjoys A Very Intense Friendship With Glenn Greenwald
Photo: Jared C. Tilton (Getty)

Glenn Greenwald telegraphed this one back in March:

Those readers savvy enough to know about Greenwald’s tastes in sport and contrarianism quickly sussed out the mystery person: tennis player Tennys Sandgren, a relatively obscure American who had the run of his life and broke into the quarterfinals of the 2018 Australian Open, only for this overnight fame to illuminate his Pizzagate-curious and homophobic posts on Twitter. This caused a small uproar. Greenwald has since discussed Sandgren with SI, and a new New Yorker profile of the journalist opens up with an extensive passage detailing the friendship between these two men. It all began when Greenwald offered Sandgren some support during that miniature firestorm:

Sandgren then lost his quarter-final, and, at the subsequent press conference, he read a statement condemning the media’s willingness to “turn neighbor against neighbor.” Later that day, he was surprised to receive a supportive message from Glenn Greenwald, the journalist, whom he followed on Twitter. (Sandgren also followed Roger Federer, Peter Thiel, and Paul Joseph Watson, of Infowars.)


Sandgren thanked Greenwald for his message, and the next day tweeted an apology for an old post in which he’d described his “eyes bleeding” after visiting a gay club. A month later, in February, Sandgren played in Brazil, at the Rio Open. Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro with his husband, David Miranda, their two sons, and two dozen dogs, former strays; Sandgren offered Greenwald and his children tickets, and they all met at the venue. Video of one match shows Greenwald, in the front row, applauding every point with dad-outing gusto. He and Sandgren subsequently formed what Greenwald called a “very intense” friendship.

Sandgren described their trade in tennis and politics. “Glenn asks me what it’s like to return Ivo Karlović’s serve—a six-foot-eleven guy—and then I ask him what’s going on in the political world,” he said. “Maybe he respects the fact that I’m very interested in learning.” Greenwald has sent him YouTube links to speeches he has made. Since meeting Greenwald, Sandgren has also watched Oliver Stone’s film “Snowden,” in which Greenwald is played by Zachary Quinto, the actor best known for his role in the “Star Trek” movies. Sandgren recalled thinking, “They got Spock to play Glenn? That’s fitting: very interested in factual information, truth and reason and logic. And, if he does get a little frustrated or angry, then look out.”


Greenwald, in a light-blue t-shirt, can be seen clapping vigorously in the front row during Sandgren’s quarterfinal loss to Fabio Fognini back in February:

Greenwald felt that a newly vulnerable Sandgren had been treated unfairly. “He was pilloried in a way that I just found so ugly,” he told the New Yorker, referring to the adult who believed a pizzeria was running a child-sex ring in its basement—even though said pizzeria didn’t even have a basement—and concluded that “the collective evidence is too much to ignore.” Here’s a representative taste of the abuse being hurled at Sandgren by the mainstream tennis media:

In the end, it was this tetchy and unapologetic Sandgren monologue that really won Greenwald over:

Greenwald was particularly struck by Sandgren’s “brave and defiant” second press conference. In response to the media’s “bullying groupthink,” he hadn’t apologized.


Don’t let the bastards get you down, Tennys.

[New Yorker]


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