In the sweltering temperatures of New York City this year, the U.S. Open had a “heat rule” in effect on August 28, allowing players longer breaks than usual to cool down and re-hydrate themselves, reported Deadspin.
Even so, the 10-minute break is not necessarily long enough to bring the body temperature down, drink a gallon of water to replace that which has been sweated out, and change into dry clothes.
After French player Alize Cornet had taken one of her allowed 10-minute breaks, she came back onto the court with her shirt the wrong way round, and decided to quickly just fix the error in between sets. She stepped to the back of the court, turned herself away from the cameras, and quickly took the shirt off to turn it the right way. As she did, chair umpire Christian Rask slapped her with a code violation for “unsportsmanlike behavior.”
Cornet was utterly perplexed by the umpire’s quick decision, even throwing her arms up in frustration.
Since then, others have spoken up to criticize the umpire’s need to punish her for trying to change her shirt, especially since the male players do this regularly on the court, with both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic sitting courtside shirtless in the past few days because of the heat.
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. https://t.co/sCN4KDXYTb
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 28, 2018
Judy Murray, former British tennis player and Andy Murray’s mother, was among them, taking to Twitter with her concern over the unnecessary violation.
The 2018 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) states that “a player can only change clothes during the end of a set, or during a medical timeout, in an off-court location.”
The first code violation to a player serves only as a warning, so Cornet did not lose any points over the decision, but many felt the principle that women must remove themselves from the court to make a quick shirt change has led to frustration on the part of Cornet.
This morning, the official U.S. Open Tennis account on Twitter issued their own statement on the matter, stating that Cornet’s decision to quickly fix her shirt was not a code violation.
US Open Statement on Change of Attire Policy pic.twitter.com/Kt7EcuPz1S
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2018
Cornet ended up losing the match against Swedish Johanna Larsson 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
The contentious decision came just days after Serena Williams was banned from wearing her “catsuit” – designed to help prevent blood clots after her health concerns in the last year – at the French Open, citing her need to “respect the game.”