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Tennis fans flew off into a rage this week when 16-year-old Czech tennis player Sara Bejlek celebrated a U.S. Open qualifying victory by embracing her father, who gave her a butt tap, and her coach, who appeared to grab her butt.
Now Bejlek says that will be the end of such “rejoicing” after the negative criticism grew into a frenzy after Friday’s match.
“It was a spontaneous reaction of the whole team. We rejoiced,” Bejlek told reporters this week. “It may certainly seem inconvenient and uncomfortable to some, but we have already discussed it with the team. It won’t happen again.”
Social media critics, according to Bejlek will be happy to know that this will not be happening on U.S. soil.
“Dad is my dad and always will be. And I’ve known the coach since I was 8 years old. He tapes me, he massages me,” Bejlek said. “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.”
La célébration de Sara Bejlek (16 ans) après sa qualif pour le tableau principal enflamme les réseaux sociaux à travers le monde. Il s'agit de son père et de son coach. pic.twitter.com/zfhFgRGbql
— Tennis Break News (@tennisbreaknews) August 27, 2022
The butt-patting thing does have roots within Czech Republic culture, but most English news reports focus on the Easter tradition of men going door-to-door whipping or patting women’s legs and butts in return for painted eggs and shots of brandy.
The butt slapping or patting thing is supposed to bring women good luck and fertility, according to Czech experts.
As for Bejlek, she lost her next match to No. 35 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.