U.S. Open officials regret dress code violation levied on Cornet
NEW YORK — In effect, U.S. Open tennis officials Wednesday acknowledged being embarrassed that anyone should have been embarrassed by French player Alize Cornet’s thoroughly reasonable wardrobe function during her Tuesday match.
Cornet, a 28-year-old veteran playing in her 51st major tournament, had just returned from the 10-minute cooling-off period provided by the Open’s Extreme Heat Policy. She was about to start the third set against Sweden’s Johanna Larsson on outer Court No. 13 shortly after noon in mid-90s heat when she realized that she had put her fresh shirt on backward.
So she turned her back on the court and stripped off the shirt, worn over her sports bra, to quickly reverse it. And was startled to hear that chair umpire Christian Rask was assessing her a code violation. “Violation for what?” Cornet said. “Really?”
The violation amounted to no more than a warning. It did not trigger a fine nor cost Cornet a penalty point, and theoretically didn’t impact the match, though Cornet, ranked 31st, proceeded to lose the third set and the match to the 82nd-ranked Larsson.
But at the resumption of play Wednesday morning, the Open issued a statement of “regret that a Code Violation was assessed Ms. Cornet.” The statement, cast as a clarification of policy “to ensure this will not happen moving forward,” said that
“all players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair” — as happens fairly often with male players.
Cornet’s female colleagues were aware of the kerfuffle over her shirt change, and “if I would say my true feelings, it would be bleeped out,” said Victoria Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion who won her second-round match Wednesday.
“I think it was ridiculous. It was nothing wrong. I’m glad (the Open officials) apologized.”
Cornet, though eliminated from the singles draw, is scheduled to begin play in doubles on Thursday.