US Open officials regret dress code violation levied on Alize Cornet

Ruben Holloway
September 1, 2018

Alize Cornet of France returned from a break in action during her match Tuesday with her shirt on backward.

When she realised her mistake, Cornet walked towards the back of the court pulling off her top, briefly exposing her sports bra, before slipping it back on the right way round and drawing a code violation from umpire Christian Rask.

Regardless, the decision to punish Cornet for changing on the court was wildly rebuked on Twitter, with Judy Murray - a tennis coach who is the mother of Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open victor - suggesting there were double standards at play.

Indeed, Novak Djokovic went unpunished when he removed his shirt on the same day Cornet received her warning.

A spokeswoman added: "The WTA has always been and always will be a pioneer for women and women's sports". It did not trigger a fine nor cost Cornet a penalty point, and theoretically didn't impact the match, though Cornet, ranked 31st, proceeded to lose the third set and the match to the 82nd-ranked Larsson.

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Judy Murray, a tennis coach who is the mother of Andy Murray, said there were double standards at play.

Realising it had stepped on a public relations landmine, the USTA was quick to issue a statement saying the code violation was wrong while the WTA leapt to Cornet's defence, labelling the penalty unfair. "This is not considered a code violation", it reads. "They will not be assessed a bathroom break in this circumstance". Male players, on the other hand, regularly pull their shirts off and switch them on the court when changing ends. "We don't want people changing their attire in the middle of the court".

The US Open has been accused of sexism after a male umpire punished a female tennis player for something men frequently do without fear of sanctions.

Women have to abide by a different set of rules.

"All players can change their shirts while sitting in the player chair". This code violation came under the Grand Slam rules and we are pleased to see the USTA has now changed this policy.

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Pam Shriver, a US Open finalist in 1978 and ESPN commentator and analyst, tweeted: "I found out tonight from the ref the rule @usopen for women to change shirts on court has been a code violation for years". How about another rule "change?"

Cornet said she was surprised to wake up on Wednesday to a full-blown controversy and attempted to downplay the incident.

"Upon the recommendation of the U.S. Open medical team, the Extreme Heat Policy will be implemented immediately for men's matches", the USTA said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Cornet also suffered with the heat during her third-round defeat by Elise Mertens at the Australian Open.

"The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity".

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