Topless tennis star sparks sexist storm
THE heat was doing strange things to everyone at the US Open today and Alize Cornet was no exception.
The World No. 31 suffered a shock defeat to Swede Johanna Larsson, who won their first round match 4-6 6-3 6-2.
On a day where the rising New York mercury and stifling humidity played havoc with a host of opening round matches, forcing retirements and sparking rule changes from tournament organisers, insult was added to injury for Cornet.
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..... 😳— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 28, 2018
But the men can change shirts on court. https://t.co/sCN4KDXYTb
In response to the brutal conditions, men were given a 10-minute break at the end of the third set while women had the same gap after the second set. Some, like Novak Djokovic, chose to get naked with their opponent in an ice bath. Whatever Cornet did with her time, it required a change of clothes.
The Frenchwoman reappeared on court after Larsson nabbed the second set but soon realised her shirt was on the wrong way. She quickly took it off then put it on correctly, taking less than 15 seconds to fix the wardrobe malfunction.
She was wearing a sports bra underneath but that didn't matter to the chair umpire, who hit Cornet with a code violation.
Cornet was stunned, holding her arms out asking what she'd done wrong. She learnt the hard way getting your kit off on the court - even for a matter of seconds - after a brain fade in searing heat instead of in the locker room came with consequences.
Former Great Britain Fed Cup captain Judy Murray - mother of three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray - blasted the discrepancy between what men can do compared to women when it comes to their wardrobe.
Male players are allowed to change shirts on the court - Rafael Nadal has done so regularly - but Murray called out the double standards in not allowing female stars to do the same.
Murray found plenty of support in the tennis world. American star Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Australia's Casey Dellacqua both criticised the call to penalise Cornet, while a Twitter user questioned why it was OK for TV viewers to be shown footage of Simona Halep changing clothes off court on Tuesday but it wasn't OK for Cornet to flip her shirt around.
May I ask why no one gave @WTA a "code violation" for showing Simona Halep changing her shirt OFF COURT? That was pathetic and lame from them, and I don't think is late for them to get a punishment or something. pic.twitter.com/uQ8Wo6yZTI— LorenaPopa🕵️♀️ 🏆🥖👑 (@popalorena) August 28, 2018
Ridiculous 🙄— caseydellacqua (@caseydellacqua) August 28, 2018
Cornet described the conditions during her loss to Larsson as a "nightmare". She wept as she sat courtside, telling doctors she was ready to vomit and felt pain in her head and bones.
It's the second time this year she's struggled with extreme heat at a grand slam after complaining about being forced to play in "dangerous" conditions at the Australian Open in January.
"Maybe the rules should change to be a little better for us. But we also understand this is a business, we are not robots, we can't just do our thing," Cornet said after a loss to Elise Mertens.
"I don't want to play a match like today again. I understand both sides. It's ugly for everyone.
"It's heat stroke, I started feeling very bad, my head was spinning, my body hurt, it's very strange. I felt that if I continued I had a good chance of serious problem.
"It's not reasonable … I felt like I was in an oven.
"I thought, 'We're crazy to be here.'
"It's great for the spectator but for us we're at our limit. I think there's a question for the heat rules."
US Open press chief Chris Widmaier said today this year is the first time the men's tournament has benefited from a heat rule which will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis.