Melbourne - Newly-minted star Tennys Sandgren has wiped his
Twitter account to create a "clean start" after a backlash over his
political views and links to right-wing activists.
The unheralded American, a devout Christian, came from
nowhere to make the Australian Open quarter-finals, and it has brought
increased scrutiny of his life.
That included his political views and his seeming support of
the alt-right movement in the United States.
Among his tweets was one where Sandgren 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
After facing a backlash, he decided to wipe the slate clean,
deleting years of social media postings.
"Some things are being said about me that are untrue
and not particularly fair," he told broadcaster ESPN in an interview late on Tuesday.
"People have the right to voice those opinions and to
say what they think, but I think my persona and my character speak for
themselves. I'm comfortable with the person that I am."
In a bid to douse the fire, he said: "I put a program
on that just deletes all the tweets.
"It's not something I'm really embarrassed about, but I
just felt like creating a cleaner start is not a bad call. I thought it
wouldn't be a bad way to move forward."
He 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.
"But no, I don't, not at all. As a firm Christian, I
don't support things like that, no. I support Christ and following him."
Sandgren, from Gallatin in Tennessee, is only the second man
in the last 20 years to make the Australian Open quarter-finals on his debut.
Amazingly, the 26-year-old missed out on qualifying in the
last four years to reach the main draw in Melbourne.
He has conquered former winner Stan Wawrinka and fifth seed
Dominic Thiem and has a clash with South Korean giantkiller Chung Hyeon, who
knocked out six-times champion Novak Djokovic, later Wednesday for a place in