UPDATE: The U.S. Open has apologized for issuing a warning against a female player for removing her shirt.
After noticing her new shirt was on backward, French tennis player Alizé Cornet quickly took it off to fix it. Unfortunately, U.S. Open officials issued a penalty as a result.
Following the outcry from fans, who complained that male players are allowed to take their shirts off while on the court but female players can’t, the organization finally issued a statement apologizing.
"We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday," the statement read. "We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward."
Officials said that the violation didn’t result in any real penalties. Instead, the player was "only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine."
They added that “all players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair,” and that female players may change their shirts in a more private location close to the court, “if they choose.”
"They will not be assessed a bathroom break in this circumstance," they added.
Following the statement, Cornet talked about the organization’s decision to apologize during a press conference.
"I think it's very fair from them to apologize to me. I really appreciate it," she said. "I think that the proportion that it took [on] is huge. 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. Because on the court, it really seemed like a mistake from the umpire and nothing else. That's how I take it."
Mistake or not, this is a step in the right direction as the organization was forced to publicly acknowledge that female players should have the same rights as their male counterparts.
The U.S. Open is being accused of sexism after a female French tennis player was slapped with code violation after she briefly took her shirt off during a heat break – something male tennis players frequently do on court.
The incident took place during a Round of 128 match when French player Alizé Cornet played Swedish star Johanna Larsson in New York City.
It was a hot day and as temperatures soared, a 10-minute heat break was called. As the break ended, cornet realized she wore her t-shirt the wrong way around. That is when she turned around on the court, took off her shirt and wore the top the other way.
However, the move resulted in a code violation.
Chair umpire, Christian Rask punished the tennis player for exposing her sports bra during the 10-second t-shirt change as he regarded the action inappropriate.
The move resulted in widespread criticism from across the board because this is something that male tennis players are allowed to and have done on court in the past and they have not been reprimanded for that.
Scottish tennis coach and Tennis star Andy Murray’s mother, Judy Murray, expressed her concern over the action and wrote on Twitter, “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 Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua and American tennis player Bethanie MattekSands replied to the Murray’s tweet and expressed their displeasure.
Many also posted pictures of male tennis players shirtless on the court to highlight the US Open’s hypocrisy.
Busted for code violation ?? #alizecornet took 10 sec to turn top right way but #novacdjokovic can sit for minutes half-naked. Same comp. Days after @serenawilliams slammed for disrespecting tennis because she wore a #catsuit. Not fair. Not right. Tell your daughters ?? pic.twitter.com/pJILnwvUvG— Alissa Warren (@alissawarren) August 29, 2018
god forbid that @alizecornet wears a sports bra, at a SPORTING event, and gets a code violation???? Unbelievably sexist considering the men do it all the time. #usopen18 #Unbelievable #Disgrace pic.twitter.com/BRzowM5CfX— Snezana Petreski (@nenska1) August 29, 2018
The incident comes just days after the French Open banned a cat suit worn by twenty three-times Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams in May 2018.
“I think that, sometimes, we've gone too far. [The catsuit] will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and place,” said French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters