The US Open has sparked a sexism storm after female French tennis player Alize Cornet was handed a code violation for quickly removing her shirt in her opening round loss to Johanna Larsson.
On Tuesday, the tennis pro copped a warning from a chair umpire for readjusting her shirt, having noticed it was back to front. US Open chiefs have since admitted they were wrong for the warning, and apologised in a public statement.
However, the decision sparked accusations of double standards, with tennis fans pointing out that male players are frequently seen with their shirts off during games.
Among those to voice their frustration was Judy Murray, the mother of former US Open champion Andy Murray. Murray wrote: “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.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, the US Open clarified its dress code policy for the future.
“All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair. This is not considered a code violation,” organisers said. “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.”
However one observer pointed out: “What about when the men celebrate on court, not on the chair?”
“Explain why Djokovic was not warned when he removed his shirt between games yesterday? Or why no male player has ever been penalised for changing their shirts during matches? Just wondering,” one commentator wrote.
Another added: “So, hold on … Novak can take his shirt off because of extreme heat & that’s OK. But Alize #Cornet takes a minute to turn her shirt around (with a bra on, BTW), & we’re all losing our minds?!?! #USOpen #everydaysexism.”
It comes after Serena Williams was banned from wearing her popular catsuit outfit at future French Open tournaments. According to Williams, the skin-tight suit was designed to protect against blood clots after the star revealed doctors had found a haematoma – a swelling of clotted blood outside of a vessel – in her body following the birth of her daughter Olympia.
And in 2017, British newspaper The Independent continued to fuel the ongoing debate over alleged ‘sexism’, by claiming more widely that it’s unfair that women can’t play as many sets as men in Grand Slams.
“In most tennis tournaments, men and women play the best of three sets, but in the Grand Slams of the Australian Open, the French Open, and the US Open, only the men are challenged to play best of five,” it stated, claiming that some have previously argued this rule upholds the belief that “women are weaker than men”.