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US Open Warns Alize Cornet Because She Fixed Shirt on Court Kicking Off Sexism Debate, Apologises Later

Tennis is in news once again.

Updated:August 30, 2018, 4:26 PM IST
US Open Warns Alize Cornet Because She Fixed Shirt on Court Kicking Off Sexism Debate, Apologises Later
Image credits: @doublefault28 / Twitter
Tennis has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

First, tennis superstar Serena Williams was criticised for donning a body-hugging catsuit and, now, Alize Cornet has been penalised for fixing her dress during a match at the US Open.

After the heat break, Cornet returned to the court when she realised she was wearing her shirt backwards. Cornet promptly slipped off her shirt on the court and fixed her garment from back-to-front.

This did not go down too well with the chair umpire who immediately issued her a warning for a code violation. The incident immediately kicked off a debate on Twitter - highlighting the disparity between the male and female players.

"Seriously, we accept male players such as #Novak to take their shirt off because of extreme heat. But when #Cornet takes 15 seconds to turn her shirt around as it was on backwards she gets a warning ‍♀️ Btw, she was wearing a sports-bra!," wrote one user.

"The fact that Alize Cornet was given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct for this is ridiculous. Male players take their shirts off regularly on the court, and nothing is said. There was nothing wrong with her actions," wrote another.

After facing the backlash and realising their error, USTA issued a statement.

US Open statement:

"All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair. This is not considered a Code Violation.

"We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward. Fortunately, she was only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine.

"Female players, if they choose, may also change their shirts in a more private location close to the court, when available. They will not be assessed a bathroom break in this circumstance."

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) was more critical of the incident and said: "Alize did nothing wrong."

"The code violation that USTA handed to Alize Cornet during her first round match at the US Open was unfair and it was not based on a WTA rule, as the WTA has no rule against a change of attire on court. The WTA has always been and always will be a pioneer for women and women's sports. This code violation came under the Grand Slam rules and we are pleased to see the USTA has now changed this policy. Alize did nothing wrong," WTA wrote in a tweet.

Cornet said she was stunned that the furore had caused so much controversy and was happy to accept the USTA's apology.

"I think it's very fair from them to apologise to me. I think the umpire was probably overwhelmed by the situation," said Cornet who insisted that French tennis federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli's Roland Garros ban on Serena Williams's catsuit was much worse and genuinely worthy of being deemed 'sexist'.

"The president of my federation lives in another time and can still do these kind of comments. They are totally shocking for me," she said.

"What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena's cat suit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me."

But Cornet was, however, glad as the support poured in from her colleagues. "So all the players were supporting me for that, and were telling me that if I get fined, we would all be together and see the WTA, you know, and make a revolution and stuff. I was, like, Calm down. I'm going to get the information first and then we see, if we make a revolution or not."

(With AFP inputs)

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