Czech tennis player Sara Bejlek said Tuesday that her father and coach will no longer celebrate in the same way after a video of both men repeatedly touching her behind at the U.S. Open received online backlash.
Bejlek lost in the first round this week but it was her victory in the final qualifying match last week that earned unwanted attention. A video showed her dad, Jaroslav Bejlek, and coach, Jakub Kahoun, hugging her and patting her backside as they each apparently congratulated her win.
“It was a spontaneous reaction of the whole team. We rejoiced,” Bejlek explained to reporters, per the New York Post. “It may certainly seem inconvenient and uncomfortable to some, but we have already discussed it with the team. It won’t happen again.”
A jubilant Bejlek defeated Britain’s Heather Watson on Friday to advance to her first U.S. Open main draw but fell in the first round on Monday to Liudmila Samsonova, 6-1, 6-3.
“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 when asked about the video.
“If something similar happened in the Czech Republic, no one would deal with it. But since we are in America, everyone comments on it.”
The U.S. Open was Bejlek’s first time playing in the main draw of any Grand Slam tournament.