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Czech embassy defends Sara Bejlek's coach patting her backside

‘It’s a personal thing, every family is different’: Czech embassy defends young tennis player’s father and coach for patting her backside at the US Open

  • Czech tennis player Sara Bejlek received backlash after a video of her father and coach patting her butt at the US Open 
  • The video sparked criticism across the US, but Bejlek said the video wouldn’t be a commotion back in the Czech Republic
  • The Czech Embassy in Washington DC told that that butt patting would be a ‘personal issues’ and would ‘differ from family to family’ 
  • ‘This hasn’t been an issue in the Czech media at all,’ a representative at the embassy told 
  • Despite the lack of outrage in the Czech Republic. Bejlek said she wouldn’t do it again 
  • Bejlek qualified for her first tennis major, falling in the first round in straight sets 

The embassy defended a young Czech tennis player whose father and coach patted her backside at the US Open. 

Sara Bejlek, 16, has already made a name for herself at the US Open thanks to an awkward video that has gone viral of her coach and father patting her butt at the game.

As the cameras lingered, both men were seen patting her on the backside with her father seemingly kissing her on the mouth, which has caused massive outrage across the US. 

The tennis player defended the action, saying it was ‘normal’ in her country. 

‘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 added.

‘If something similar happened in the Czech Republic, no one would deal with it. But since we are in America, everyone comments on it.’ 

A representative from the Czech Embassy in Washington DC told on Wednesday that this seemingly outrageous moment ‘hasn’t been an issue in the Czech media at all.’

‘It’s a personal issue, each family would be different,’ the representative told ‘It differs from family to family.’ 

After win, Sara Bejlek celebrated with her father Jaroslav, who appeared to pat her backside after her victory 

US viewers were outraged by the moment, but the tennis player said the moment was ‘normal’ in her country 

‘If something similar happened in the Czech Republic, no one would deal with it. But since we are in America, everyone comments on it,’ she said of the moment 

Coach Jakub Kahoun also grabbed her backside as the pair embraced following the win

The Czech Embassy in Washington DC (pictured) told that ‘this hasn’t been an issue in the Czech media at all’ and that butt patting would ‘differ family to family’ and it was a ‘personal issue’ 

Although the embassy could not directly comment on the whether or not butt patting was a cultural commonality in the Czech Republic, the young tennis player has already said she wouldn’t do it again after receiving backlash.  

‘It was a spontaneous reaction of the whole team. We rejoiced,’ Bejlek said 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.’

While that incident occurred during her first qualifying match, it gained traction just before she took on the world No. 35 player Liudmila Samsonova of Russia. 

She lost that match in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. 

The 16-year-old Czech qualified for her first Grand Slam tournament by defeating a number of opponents last week, including an impressive win over the UK’s Heather Watson. 

The 16-year-old is pictured alongside her father (right) and coach (bottom) on Instagram

Bejlek made her US Open debut on Monday against Russian Ludmilla Samsanova

After her qualifying win, 16-year-old Bejlek posted a picture alongside her father on Instagram

How bum-patting and even whipping are seen differently by Czechs

Many might view the ‘bum patting’ exhibited by 16-year-old Sara Bejlek’s father and coach after her resounding victory over Britain’s Heather Watson as a step too far.

However, in the Czech Republic – and in other Central and Eastern European countries – ‘bum patting’ is a common sign of affection.

While one wouldn’t greet a stranger with a pat on the backside, between family members or close friends it is a way to congratulate, to greet, or a gesture for good luck – akin to giving someone a pat on the back.

And while in some countries it might be frowned upon, it is not considered unusual for the men in a family – such as fathers or uncles – to pat the behinds of the younger women.

This is taken even further each year at Easter with the ‘Pomlázka’ – or Easter Whip – tradition, that is observed in the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia and some parts of Hungary.

Pictured: A man uses a willow branch to ‘whip’ a woman in the tradition of Pomlázka, which is observed in Central and Eastern European countries – such as the Czech Republic – at Easter

For the tradition, men will go house-to-house on Easter Monday morning spanking local women with a special handmade whip or switch made from wooden branches (such as willow), decorated with coloured ribbons. 

Women, meanwhile, traditionally wore long dresses as protection against the Pomlázka – although jeans are now the preferred choice.

The tradition also involves songs about eggs, spring time, bountifulness and fertility. Tradition says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health, beauty and fertility throughout the following year.

In return, women will give the men decorated hard boiled eggs and a shot of strong alcohol (such as slivovice, or plum brandy). 

A survey in 2019 found 60 percent of Czech households keep the tradition, that dates back to the 14th century.

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