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#FeelGoodFriday: Watch Barbora Krejcikova’s moving WTA Finals speech
After teaming up with countrywoman Katerina Siniakova to win the year-end event, the Czech shed a light on the courageous students who led the Velvet Revolution, resulting in the freedoms she enjoys today.
Published Nov 19, 2021
Trophy ceremony clip: Krejcikova's history lesson
When Barbora Krejcikova took the microphone in Guadalajara, she had stood in this position many times before. Particularly in 2021, a tremendous season highlighted by a Roland Garros singles and doubles trophy sweep.
But this past Wednesday night was different. For Krejcikova’s latest triumph with Katerina Siniakova fell on a very important anniversary back home.
“Today is a really special day for the Czech Republic and also our Slovak friends. We call this day the Velvet Revolution,” Krejcikova explained to fans in attendance.
“On November 17 1989, Czechs and Slovaks had been one nation. We had very brave Czechoslovakian students and citizens. They went outside to the streets and they had been demonstrating against the non-democratic regime we had then.”
“Because of them…”
The 25-year-old then stopped for a few seconds to gather herself, as Siniakova—who Krejcikova also partnered to the Tokyo Olympics gold medal—and WTA Finals ambassador Martina Navratilova, who defected to the U.S. in September 1975, wiped away tears. The start of the Velvet Revolution, which saw upwards of 15,000 students assemble in Prague, came a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their peaceful protest turned violent when riot police brutally attacked marchers, injuring 600 in the process.
“Thanks to them and their sacrifice, my generation can live in a beautiful country back home,” Krejcikova continued. “We can live without any restrictions and with the freedom. So everybody understands what was happening back then.”
Krejcikova acknowledged Navratilova, whom the doubles trophy at the season finale is named after, before stating, “I'm really happy that regime is not there anymore and we can live in freedom.”
Her powerful speech comes at a significant time, as the tennis community seeks answers in the disappearance of Peng Shuai, a fellow former doubles world No. 1. Peng has not been seen or heard from since November 2, when she alleged on her Weibo account that former vice premier Zhang Gaoli coerced her into having sex.
Peng’s lack of activity and Me Too claim being censored has led to the #WhereIsPengShuai movement trending on social media. Several players have expressed their shock, including Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
On Friday, Andy Murray was among the latest to keep the conversation moving, quoting a tweet with a clip of Krejcikova's touching tribute.
“This speech gives us a reminder and some hope that things can change in the future,” Murray wrote, ending with the hashtag.
Thank you Barbora Krejcikova for shedding a light on how a brighter tomorrow is out there.