Tennis player responds to furore over ‘inappropriate’ video with father

Czech tennis player Sara Bejlek has responded to the furore surrounding footage of her celebrating her US Open qualification with her father.

The 16-year-old advanced to the main draw of the hard-court grand slam after beating British player Heather Watson in the final round of qualifying.

Bejlek was overjoyed after one of the biggest moments of her career, embracing her father Jaroslav Bejlek and coach Jakub Kahoun at the side of the court.

However the celebrations left many viewers scratching their heads after Bejlek’s father and coach could both be seen patting her on the backside while hugging her.

The 16-year-old also shared a kiss with her father on the lips.

One social media user wrote: “There’s absolutely no reason to touch a 16 yo girl on her butt like that.

“It’s beyond inappropriate. As the video progressed it got worse and worse.”

Another commented: “I’m sorry, I don’t care if it’s her dad, dad/coach, relative etc. you shouldn’t be doing this by patting her on the behind numerous times.

“I don’t want to hear if they do it ‘there’. They travel enough probably to know it’s not viewed as appropriate. She’s 16!!! Not 6!”

Others described the footage as ‘weird’ and ‘creepy’.

Sara Bejlek, pictured here in action against Heather Watson in the US Open qualification rounds.
Sara Bejlek in action against Heather Watson in the US Open qualification rounds. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Sara Bejlek responds to furore over video with father

Addressing the furore at the US Open on Wednesday, Bejlek described the interactions as ‘spontaneous’ and said it wouldn’t happen again.

“I saw the video. It was a spontaneous reaction of the whole team. We rejoiced,” she told iSport.

“It may certainly seem inconvenient and uncomfortable to some, but we have already discussed it with the team. It won’t happen again.”

Sara Bejlek, pictured here sharing a kiss with her father after qualifying for the US Open.
Sara Bejlek shared a kiss with her father after qualifying for the US Open. Image; Twitter

Bejlejk added: “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.

“If something similar happened in the Czech Republic, no one would deal with it.

“But since we are in America, everyone comments on it. But as I say, we talked and it won’t happen again.”

Bejlek currently has a career-high ranking of World No.181.

Her US Open campaign ended in the first round after a 3-6 1-6 loss to Ludmilla Samsonova of Russia.

On the bright side, her qualification for the US Open main draw will see her walk away with US$80,000 for her troubles.

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