16-year-old tennis star's 'inappropriate' celebrations with father spark uproar at US Open
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Teenage tennis player Sara Bejlek's celebrations with her father at the US Open have been labelled 'creepy' and 'inappropriate'.
Bejlek had produced a brilliant display to overcome Heather Watson and qualify for her first ever grand slam.
However, it was her post-match celebrations that sent social media into a frenzy.
Captured on Amazon Prime's broadcast of the match, the world No. 194 shook hands with her opponent and the official before making her way over to a clearly ecstatic supporter.
That man, who has now been identified as Bejlek's father, gave his daughter a big hug.
But during their embrace, the dad appeared to give the 16-year-old a pat on the backside multiple times before kissing her on the mouth.
— Eggy 🥚 (@TheBoiledEgg) August 27, 2022
Creepy coaches #WTA #USOpen #Bejlek
She’s 16 😳😱 pic.twitter.com/8ORvrHTVkX
Some didn't bat an eye over the embrace, but it appears their method of celebrations didn't sit well with a large portion of viewers.
One fan tweeted: "There's absolutely no reason to touch a 16yo girl on her butt like that. It's beyond inappropriate. As the video progressed it got worse and worse. And that's not because I see her as 'sexual object' or am projecting as some in comments and quotes are alluding."
While another added: "The WTA needs to look into these especially since these young girls are traveling w men from a very young age. Also y'all can say its the dad or WTV but does your dad touch your bum like that."
As a third said: "'Creepy' is one way to describe it, but 'criminal' is more accurate. (And those who think it’s not so bad because it’s her father? That’s just as disturbing.) Needs to be reported."
There's absolutely no reason to touch a 16yo girl on her butt like that. It's beyond inappropriate. As the video progressed it got worse and worse. And that's not because I see her as "sexual object" or am projecting as some in comments and quotes are alluding. https://t.co/8OjAXXCBI4— NoFirstName claycourtdal (@SMSTNS) August 27, 2022
“Creepy” is one way to describe it, but “criminal” is more accurate. (And those who think it’s not so bad because it’s her father? That’s just as disturbing.) Needs to be reported. https://t.co/IcbytVaDTr— Diane Elayne Dees (@WomenWhoServe) August 28, 2022
Yeah, 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! https://t.co/2DlztboGby— Chelseaaaa (@ChelseaRulezzz) August 27, 2022
What the.. 😑 This is inappropriate even if it's her dad/coach or anyone else. It's really disgusting that some people are defending like it's their culture.. Huh😑 https://t.co/aK6xW3W4yu— Veena (@svv1729) August 28, 2022
This must be happening quite a LOT on tour and this needs to stop💀💀 https://t.co/mMsEpg3Rdt— Soumya (@9_2_7_3) August 27, 2022
There are some serious shenanigans going on here.— Sports Plus (@PrepSportsPlus) August 28, 2022
This isn't just a bad look, but needs to be looked into. https://t.co/2szOIF8dsH
What the hell?? I need more people to see this and talk about his because they literally caught them in 4K how is this not being talked about??? https://t.co/k6TuHXUhZT— niki | meddy szn ❤️ (@berrettiniswife) August 27, 2022
the wta needs to look into these especially since these young girls are traveling w men from a very young age. also yall can say its the dad or wtv but does your dad touch your bum like that 😭😭😭 https://t.co/WTGr2yqGoW— ky / #O5AKA🔜 (@queenosakaa) August 27, 2022
Are you seriously kidding me???? https://t.co/srgP51cXT3— High Blood Pressure (@thetwinkwolff) August 28, 2022
Some people argued that Bejlek was hugging her dad and it was therefore just a friendly embrace.
Footage of the incident has now gone viral online, racking up almost 200,000 views on one tweet alone.
As for Bejlek herself, she'll be preparing to make her US Open debut against Ludmilla Samsanova.
Bejlek's fellow compatriot and grand slam champion Barbora Krejcikova has spoken very highly of the teenager.
“I see big potential and I think Sara has a big future ahead of her,” Krejcikova said.
“She is a really, really good player and is doing really well at ITF World Tennis Tour events. For me, it is good that I can practice with her on a good level and for her I hope it is good that she has the chance to practice with me.
“Sara really is on the right path and has a nice team, who are doing everything to make her better every single day, and I would just tell her to keep going, keep doing her best every day and keep believing in herself.”