Female Tennis Player Penalized For Fixing Her Shirt During Match At US Open

By Emily Lee

August 29, 2018

French tennis player Alizé Cornet was penalized for fixing her shirt during a match at the US Open on Thursday (Aug. 29). During a 10-minute break, Cornet changed into a fresh shirt. When she got back on the court, however, she realized her new shirt was on backwards. Cornet quickly and discreetly adjusted her top on the court. Umpire Christian Rask then gave her with a code violation. 

Buzzfeed News reports that Women's Tennis Association rules "dictate that players may only remove shirts while off-court. No such rules apply to male players, who took their shirts off frequently Tuesday, to deal with the blistering heat." Whether or not a penalty is given is at the discretion of the umpire.

Many people were infuriated over the penalty awarded to Cornet, especially because male players are not subjected to the same restrictions. Tennis fans took to Twitter to air their frustrations. One shared photos of four different male tennis players with their shirts removed on the courts. 

Sports commentator Matthew Keenan shared side-by-side shots of Cornet adjusting her shirt and a shirtless Novak Djokovic. "Cornet's discreet t-shirt reversal is a code violation while Djokovic's chest beating is okay," he wrote alongside the hashtag #DoubleStandards. 

This incident was even more frustrating for many as it came on the heels of French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli's decision to ban Serena Williams' catsuit at the French Open. "It will no longer be accepted," he said of the catsuit. "One must respect the game and the place." While Guidicelli is concerned about female tennis players taking the dress code "too far," Williams was focused on getting back on the court after serious complications during the birth of her first child. The now-banned catsuit was designed specifically to help prevent blood clots and help her circulation, which she's been dealing with since her daughter was born. 

Tennis legend Billie Jean King got involved, as well, writing on Twitter that, "The policing of women's bodies must end. The 'respect' that's needed is for the exceptional talent ⁦@serenawilliams⁩ brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies." King was quick to share her two cents on the Cornet penalty, saying the rule is "outdated and impractical."

Cornet ultimately lost her match against Swedish opponent Johanna Larsson 6–4, 3–6, and 2–6.

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