Alize Cornet was walking back to the court, in blistering heat, after the end of the 10 minutes heat break. As she was preparing to receive, it came to her attention that she was wearing her T-shirt backwards and she quickly changed it… but that resulted in a court violation. Does this mean that the tennis world is sexist?
The Idea that the Tennis world Might be Sexist
The incident occurred during Cornet’s first-round defeat to Swedish player Johanna Larsson at Flushing Meadows (during the US Open) a couple of days after Serena Williams was told she cannot wear her catsuit attire on the court.
The world number 31 was handed a code violation by the chair umpire, Christian Rask for taking her T-shirt off on the court, revealing her black and red sport bra. Many of her fans see this as both sexist and unfair.
The ruling was at the umpire’s discretion, meaning Rask could have chosen not to give the French player a warning which the five-times grand slam double champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands labelled as “weak.”
According to Reem Abulleli, a freelance sport journalist, Cornet said: “You have people like the president of my federation, who lives in another time. What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena Williams’ catsuit was 10 times worse than what happened to me yesterday.”
What the Rulebook Says
The Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) rulebook states that female players are not allowed to change their clothes while on the court but male players can freely do so and sit topless without receiving any form of punishment.
However, US Open Tennis has released a statement explaining a change of attire policy. The policy states all players can change their shirts when sitting in their 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,” the statement read.
Female players, if they want, may also change their attire in a private place near the court, when available. They will not be assessed a bathroom break in this circumstance, US Open Tennis added.
But US Open Tennis did not clarify what will happen if a female wants to change her attire but there is no private location available to do so.
Tennis fans are calling for a gender-neutral rule.
The likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal sit half naked on the players’ chair which is not a code violation. If Cornet had readjusted her top during the break she was probably not going to receive a warning.
The WTA and US Tennis attire rule was not in play when world number one Simona Halep was shown changing her shirt off the court which was in a “more private place” during her first round match.
So what do you think? Is the tennis world sexist?