Los Angeles: Serena Williams called on Tennys Sandgren to apologise on Wednesday 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 United States.
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 due to pregnancy and subsequent birth of her daughter, ripped Sandgren in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.
"@TennysSandgren. I don't need or want one. But there is a entire group of people that deserves an apology," Williams wrote.
"I can't look at my daughter and tell her I sat back and was quiet. No! she will know how to stand up for herself and others - through my example," she added.
@TennysSandgren I don't need or want one. But there is a entire group of people that deserves an apology. I cant look at my daughter and tell her I sat back and was quiet. No! she will know how to stand up for herself and others- through my example. ✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/im2NhoMdN4
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) January 24, 2018
Williams had earlier taken aim at Sandgren as the broadcast of his last eight defeat to South Korea's Chung Hyeon got underway.
"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.
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.
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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2018 12:04:41 IST