Sara Bejlek was seen being patted on the backside and kissed by her father and coach at the US Open
Czech tennis player Sara Bejlek has told tennis fans that the scenes which saw her father and coach celebrating a win with her at the US Open “won’t happen again,” after aclip showing them patting her several times on the backside triggered debate.
The sixteen-year-old went viral after qualifying for her first ever Grand Slam tournament by seeing off Heather Watson.
In the moments that followed the win, cameras caught two men later identified as the youngster’s father and coach celebrating the triumph by patting her on the backside and, in her father’s case, kissing her on the mouth.
Numerous social media users were outraged with the display, demanding that the WTA women’s tour investigate the incident.
“There’s absolutely no reason to touch a 16-year-old girl on her butt like that. It’s beyond inappropriate,” one onlooker tweeted of the “creepy” exchange.
“As the video progressed it got worse and worse.”
“The WTA needs to look into this, especially since these young girls are traveling [with] men from a very young age. Also y’all can say it’s the dad or whatever, but does your dad touch your bum like that,” another party posed.
In the aftermath of the furor, however, Bejlek has broken her silence on it.
“Of course I saw the video. It was a spontaneous reaction of the whole team. We rejoiced,” the teenager explained to reporters.
“It may certainly seem inconvenient and uncomfortable to some, but we have already discussed it with the team. It won’t happen again,” she vowed.
Bejlek has since exited the tournament after losing to Russian world number 35 Liudmila Samsonova at Flushing Meadows.
Before the 6-3, 6-1 loss, though, the rookie also addressed criticism leveled at her father and coach.
“Dad is my dad and always will be. And I’ve known the coach since I was eight years old. He tapes me, he massages me,” she explained.
“If something similar happened in the Czech Republic, no one would deal with it. But since we are in America, everyone comments on it,” Bejlek said, echoing similar comments made by Czechs online.
“But as I say, we talked and it won’t happen again,” Bejlek added.
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