US Open 'regrets' Cornet shirt violation

Jo Caldwell
August 30, 2018

Regret or not, the ruling made by the umpire has reignited the sexism debate in tennis, with Judy Murray neatly summing it up: "Alize Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break".

Alize Cornet's warning from a chair umpire after adjusting her shirt during the second round of the US Open has divided tournament organisers and the women's tennis governing body. "Had her fresh shirt on back to front".

While women rarely change clothes on court during professional tennis matches, men switch shirts all the time, usually during changeovers, often to catcalls from the crowd. "When I woke up this morning, I didn't think that this code violation would become so famous in less than 24 hours, and I'm very surprised about it, actually, to be honest".

Previous year marked a decade since women won the right to pay parity at Wimbledon and meant the sport could officially boast equal prize money across all four Grand Slams; the US Open having rolled it out in 1973, the Australian Open in 2001, and the French Open in 2006.

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Alize Cornet welcomed the US Open's apology for her clothing warning - then criticised the president of the French Tennis Federation for banning Serena Williams' catsuit.

US Open officials apologized on Wednesday for the penalty, saying they had "clarified the policy to ensure that this will not happen moving forward". So the USTA instituted one Tuesday, when it felt like more than 100 degrees (40 Celsius) on court, offering them a 10-minute break before a match headed to a fourth set.

The US Tennis Association (USTA) apologised for the incident on Wednesday, adding that the shirt adjustment was not a violation and should not have resulted in punishment. "Basically that was a warning and there was no further penalty and there was no fine".

"There is always a double standard for men and women".

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US Open officials said all players could change their shirts when sitting in the player chair, adding that women could also change their shirts in a private location near the court if it was available without being assessed a bathroom break. She quickly changed it on court. "And as players, as representatives of the WTA Tour, I believe we're going to do the best we can to make sure that we are the most progressive sport and continue to break those boundaries, because it's unacceptable". With temperatures rising to almost 100 degrees, the U.S. Open organizers implemented an extreme heat policy mandating a 10-minute break between sets two and three. "So we don't want to be unduly harsh considering what the severe weather conditions are", said Widmaier. This code violation came under the Grand Slam rules and we are pleased to see the USTA has now changed this policy.

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".

While Williams downplayed those remarks, Cornet most decidedly did not.

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