A large social media outrage has unleashed on the US Open for an unfair and double standard policy they enforced on Tuesday’s Match. French Female tennis player, Alize Cornet, received a code violation for changing her shirt on the court during her match against Johanna Larsson. After the incident, the tournament officials received heavy social media backlash for the sexism since the policy was not being applied to males in similar situations.
During her match, Cornet had decided to switch shirts in the locker room and once she was back on the court she noticed that her shirt was on backwards. At the back of the court, she quickly switched her shirt before the match resumed and as a result her sports bra appeared to the public during the mandated break.
After the brief moment, Cornet received a warning from the chair umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct. The violation was issued under the same rules that guide the Grand Slam Rulebook which states that women should only change their attire in a break between sets in the nearest available bathroom.
The controversy emerges over the fact that male players do not have the same rule.
On that same day, players such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and several others were seen taking off their shirts during breaks. However, none of the male players got the same penalty as Cornet.
The incident led to a lot of social media backlash where people were frustrated at the officials for not realizing the blatant sexism within their current policies and how they issued them. One tweet caught the attention of the tournament when former Federal Cup Captain and mother of three time Grand Slam Winner Andy Murray’s mother, Judy Murray shared her opinion on the unfair policy.
The United States Tennis Association apologized in a morning statement on Wednesday that “All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair.” They continued with an address that the incident was “not considered a Code Violation. We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure that this will not happen moving forward. Fortunately, she was only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine.”
Even the Women’s Tennis Association gave their opinion on the matter and emphasized that this was not a rule the WTA enforces.
They highlighted the difference in their beliefs from UTSA and how they found that “Alize did nothing wrong.”
Cornet soon released her own statement where she thanked the UTSA for their apology. “When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think that this code violation would become so famous in less than 24 hours, and I’m very surprised about it, actually, to be honest,” Cornet said. Because on the court, it really seemed like a mistake from the umpire and nothing else. That’s how I take it.”
Although the policy was acknowledged and changed, this hasn’t been the only recent event where female players have been attacked. Last week, the French Open targeted tennis superstar, Serena Williams when they banned female players from wearing the cat suit she sported at last year’s tournament.
According to the Guardian, when William’s wore the catsuit it made her feel like “ a superhero.” The catsuit was also for medical purposes since it provided compression and prevented the player from getting blood clots. Williams suffered blood clots and other health problems after the birth of her first child. However, none of the reasoning was substantial for the officials of the French Open not to condemn the outfit.
Even for medical purposes or basic wardrobe mistakes, women are penalized in their own profession for events that have nothing to do with how they play the game. As much as the apologies, change in policy, and explanations for judgements adds a form of clarity, there is still uniform criticism that stands in the way of gender bias in the tennis world.
As the story develops, just this week Williams was penalized once again for her call to review one of the moderators decisions during the match. A call that officials claimed to be confrontational and out of line when in fact similar calls for review made by male players had not given as much attention to in the past.