British tennis icon Andy Murray has hailed Czech star Barbora Krejčíková for her inspiring post-match speech at the WTA Finals and demanded answers on the disappearance of Chinese player Peng Shuai.
Krejčíková has had a remarkable 2021 –– winning the French Open in both singles and doubles while climbing into the top 10 of the singles rankings.
The Czech star competed in both singles and doubles at the prestigious, season-ending, WTA FInals in Guadalajara and scooped the doubles title with compatriot Kateřina Siniaková.
Speaking after her win, the 25-year-old referenced her home country’s freedom from an oppressive, communist regime in the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
"Today is a really special day for the Czech Republic and also our Slovak friends. We call this day the Velvet Revolution,” she said.
"On November 17 1989, Czechs and Slovaks had been one nation. We had very brave Czechoslovakian students and citizens and they went outside to the streets and they had been demonstrating against the non-democratic regime we had then.
"Thanks to them and their sacrifice, my generation can live in a beautiful country back home and we can live without any restrictions and with freedom. So everybody understands what was happening back then.
"We have here Martina Navratilova who was forced to emigrate from Czechoslovakia because of the regime there.
"I'm really happy that regime is not there anymore and we can live in freedom.
"So just want to say that I want to thank everybody back home and I really appreciate what they did, how brave they were.
"They gave us the opportunity to live in freedom and I'm really proud to be from Czech Republic."
The speech reduced the great Navratilova to tears, who was present courtside as a part of the trophy presentation. The 18-time Grand Slam winner defected from Czechoslovakia early in her career and became a US citizen in 1981.
Murray, who is an advocate for gender equality and a passionate promoter of the women’s game, responded to a video of Krejčíková’s speech.
He referenced the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from since accusing a former government official of sexual assault.
The Brit wrote: "Female tennis player Peng Shuai's whereabouts is currently unknown after making sexual abuse allegations against a Chinese government official.
"This speech gives us a reminder and some hope that things can change in the future."
Chinese state media shared an email they claimed was from Peng but doubts have been cast over its authenticity.
The WTA’s chief executive, Steve Simon, released a statement saying he was now even more concerned for Peng’s wellbeing and stressed she “must be allowed to speak freely.”
Simon has also confirmed the organisation will reconsider allowing China to host tournaments on the women’s tour unless the situation is resolved.News Now - Sport News