The following is an excerpt from BEN ROTHENBERG | February 12, 2018 | Slate.com |
Last month’s Australian Open probably should’ve been the most politically charged grand slam event ever. Tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova said they would’ve refused to play at Margaret Court’s namesake arena at Melbourne Park on account of Court’s recent spate of homophobic and transphobic remarks. But the active players at the sport’s first major tournament of the year took no such stands.
Likewise, when controversy erupted over Tennys Sandgren’s Twitter account—on which the American journeyman engaged with alt-right leaders, endorsed Pizzagate, and said a gay club made his eyes start “bleeding”—no players at the Australian Open spoke up.
One new voice, however, cut through all that silence. Darko Grncarov wrote on Twitter that he was infuriated by Sandgren, whom he called an “idiot.” Grncarov, a 20-year-old from Macedonia, also tweeted that he would’ve refused to play in Margaret Court Arena because her views were “totally unacceptable and disgusting.”
Grncarov won admirers on social media for “leading the way on social issues.” His stance on Margaret Court Arena also earned the young Macedonian an interview on BBC Radio. In that conversation, Grncarov shared more of his miraculous back story: The woke young tennis player, it turned out, had just awoken from a coma, and he was preparing to make a splash on the ATP tour.
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