The US Open has come under fire for reprimanding a female tennis player for taking her shirt off on court.
Alize Cornet suffered a bizarre wardrobe malfunction on Wednesday morning when she came back from a heat break with her shirt on back-to-front.
With temperatures soaring into the high 30s, a number of players melted in the heat, prompting officials to implement a heat policy – allowing players to leave court between sets.
Cornet had clearly been struggling in the oppressive conditions, and her wardrobe malfunction was probably a bi-product of that.
Alize Cornet took about 10 seconds to change her shirt. Source: ESPN
Just before her opponent was about to serve, Cornet realised her mistake and took her shirt off to put it back on the right way.
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She turned away from the court and adjusted it, exposing her sports bra in the process.
But the Frenchwoman was left fuming when the chair umpire hit her with a code violation for the seemingly innocent act.
Cornet was left incensed by the call. Image: ESPN
Under WTA rules, female players are not allowed to change their clothes on court.
However male players are, and we regularly see shirtless players sitting court-side in between sets.
Former Great Britain Fed Cup captain Judy Murray (mother of Andy), took to social media to express her disdain at the seemingly sexist rule.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
A number of big names in female tennis also slammed the strange situation.
Cornet described the conditions as a “nightmare” as she slumped to a three-set loss to Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
The 28-year-old wept as she sat court-side, telling doctors that she was ready to vomit and felt pain in her head and bones.
‘Nightmare’ heat forces unprecedented move
With temperatures soaring towards 38 degrees amid crushing humidity, the United States Tennis Association announced that the 10-minute heat break the women players are granted between the second and third sets of their matches would be extended to the men as well.
“Upon the recommendation of the US Open medical team, the Extreme Heat Policy will be implemented immediately for men’s matches,” the USTA said in a statement.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both changed their shirts on court on Wednesday. Image: Getty
“The men will be offered a 10-minute break between the third and fourth set.
“The Tournament Referee, along with the medical team, will continue to monitor on-site conditions, to determine when the Extreme Heat Policy will no longer be in effect.”
One fan collapsed in the stands at the sun-exposed court 17 during Petra Kvitova’s win over Yanina Wickmayer, causing the chair umpire to halt play while emergency medical personnel attended.
‘I wasn’t going to die, tennis is not for that’
Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer said it felt “like I was going to die”, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 2-1 down to Serbia’s Laslo Djere when he quit.
“I had heat stroke. I was not going to die on the court, tennis is not for that,” said the 31-year-old.
“In the locker room I saw several people lying there, just like me, it’s very hard. I could not do it anymore.”
Italian Stefano Travaglia retired at 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 3-0 down to Hubert Hurkacz, suffering severe cramping.
“It was 36, 37 degrees but on court it was more,” said the 26-year-old who admitted “the first problem was the sun”.
“To have 25 seconds between points in this weather is not possible.
“There was a lot of humidity, it was really tough. I hope that in my next tournament it will be less hot.”