- The US Open is being called sexist after a female tennis player, Alizé Cornet, was hit with a code violation for changing her top on the court.
- The men’s tennis star Novak Djokovic removed his shirt in a separate match and sat shirtless between games but was left unpunished.
- Judy Murray, a tennis coach who is the mother of Andy Murray, said there were double standards at play.
- One observer called the decision “totally sexist.”
The US Open has been accused of sexism after a male umpire punished a female tennis player for something men frequently do without fear of sanctions.
It all began during a Round of 128 match Tuesday, when the French player Alizé Cornet played the Swedish star Johanna Larsson on Court 13 at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York.
A 10-minute heat break had been called amid sweltering conditions, but when play resumed Cornet realised she was wearing her top the wrong way round.
Cornet then changed on the court, temporarily exposing her black sports bra, and was slapped with a code violation by the umpire.
The Women’s Tennis Association rules say women are not allowed to change while on the court, according to the Daily Mail. But there is no rule for men.
Regardless, the decision to punish Cornet for changing on the court was wildly rebuked on Twitter, with Judy Murray – a tennis coach who is the mother of Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open winner – suggesting there were double standards at play.
“Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break,” Murray tweeted. “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.”
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. https://t.co/sCN4KDXYTb
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 28, 2018
Indeed, Novak Djokovic went unpunished when he removed his shirt on the same day Cornet received her warning.
During Djokovic’s match with Marton Fucsovics, which he won three sets to one, the players – like Cornet and Larsson – were permitted a 10-minute respite from the heat.
Djokovic struggled in the soaring temperatures, removed his shirt, and toweled himself down at one point.
Bob Frier, an anchor for the Orlando, Florida, Fox affiliate Fox 35, chimed in on Twitter.
“Totally sexist!” Frier said in a tweet published Wednesday. “US Open umpire hits french player with a code violation after she quickly turns her shirt around because it was on backward. Male players do it.. and she was covered the whole time. Sorry but that’s just wrong.”
Totally sexist! US Open umpire hits french player with a code violation after she quickly turns her shirt around because it was on backward. Male players do it.. and she was covered the whole time. Sorry but that's just wrong. #fox35 https://t.co/aVpAjhrRwj
— Bob Frier (@Fox35Bob) August 29, 2018
This is not the first time a major tennis tournament has attracted headlines for the way it treats its female athletes.
Just last week, the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was told by the French Tennis Federation’s president, Bernard Giudicelli, that she would never be allowed to wear her “Black Panther”-style catsuit at the French Open again.
Giudicelli implied the outfit, which she wore at this year’s tournament, did not show respect for the game or the competition.
Many observers suggested Williams’ treatment had to do with her being a black woman.
Cornet lost her Round of 128 match, two sets to one, but is set to compete in a doubles match at the US Open with the Romanian Irina Bara.
They are scheduled to take on the Russian Vera Zvonareva and the Swiss star Timea Bacsinszky on Court 14 at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
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