Sky News:– US Open officials have been accused of sexism after handing Alize Cornet a code violation for adjusting her shirt on court.
The French tennis star, 28, walked back onto court following a medically induced heat break without realising she had accidentally put her top on incorrectly.
During the clothing change, which took around 10 seconds, the world no. 31 exposed her black sports bra.
The umpire on court at the time, Christian Rask, immediately issued Cornet with a penalty after deeming the incident inappropriate.
Cornet eventually lost the match. Afterwards, social media users called the punishment “sexist”.
Judy Murray, the mother of former US Open champion Andy Murray, said in a viral tweet: “Alize Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break.
“Had her fresh shirt on back to front. Changed at back of court. Got a code violation.
“Unsportsmanlike conduct….. but the men can change shirts on court.”
Former US number one, Billie Jean King, hit out as well, saying: “This rule is outdated and impractical.”
And four-times US Open champion Martina Navratilova said: “If one is wearing a sports bra then of course it should be allowed.
“And if one isn’t wearing a sports bra, then it still should be allowed – although I for one wouldn’t do it.”
Casey Dellacqua, a former Australian tennis player, replied to Murray’s tweet, writing: “Ridiculous”.
Fox anchor Bob Frier tweeted: “Totally sexist! US Open umpire hits french player with a code violation after she quickly turns her shirt around because it was on backward.
“Male players do it.. and she was covered the whole time. Sorry but that’s just wrong.”
Male players regularly swap their shirts on court, with the umpire’s permission while sat in their chair.
Women have to abide by a different set of rules.
The WTA condemned the code violation, saying it was “unfair and it was not based on a WTA rule, as the WTA has no rule against a change of attire on court”.
It added: “The WTA has always been and always will be a pioneer for women and women’s sports.
“Alize did nothing wrong.”
US Open organisers have subsequently said Cornet should not have received a warning and will not face a fine, adding that the code has been “clarified” so female players can change their shirts, but only in a “more private location”.
A statement read: “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.”
Temperatures have reached the high 40s during this year’s US Open. Heat breaks were prompted in both men’s and women’s matches – resulting in the need for fresh attire.
Novak Djokovic had the equivalent of an on-court ice bath with his shirt removed during his game against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics amid 32.2C (89.96F) temperatures.
Twitter user Alissa Warren tweeted a picture of Novak Djokovic topless on court, writing: “Busted for code violation [sic] #alizecornet took 10 sec to turn top right way but #novacdjokovic can sit for minutes half-naked”.
Cornet has yet to comment on the incident. Sky News has asked for a comment from the WTA.