Tennis Clearly Has a Problem Policing Female Players' Clothing
The tennis world is once again facing criticism over its selectively strict — and many say sexist — dress code. On Aug. 28, Alizé Cornet was issued a court violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after she momentarily took off her shirt during a match at the US Open. The French tennis player was returning from her break between sets when she realized the shirt she'd put on over her sports bra was backward, so she quickly took it off and put it back on correctly.
In a video of the moment by The Guardian, Cornet appeared to be confused that there had been any violation. Cornet repeatedly asked the official, "Really?," before resuming the game. Following widespread criticism, the US Open responded to the incident and said it would be clarifying its policy to "ensure this will not happen moving forward." The organization did, however, reinforce that female players should change their shirts when seated to the side of the court or in a "more private location close to the court." Notably, male tennis players including Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have gone shirtless on the sidelines during their matches this week.
The Women's Tennis Association responded on Twitter after the US Open's comment and described the call as "unfair." The statement said: "The WTA has always been and always will be a pioneer for women and women's sports. This code violation came under the Grand Slam rules and we are pleased to see the USTA has now changed this policy. Alize did nothing wrong." As for Cornet, she has not publicly addressed the incident since it happened.
This all comes days after Serena Williams was banned from wearing a bodysuit at the French Open. Williams previously won the tournament in a black-and-red bodysuit by Nike. The French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said certain outfits will no longer be allowed and reportedly specifically mentioned the bodysuit. "One must respect the game and the place," he said. When Williams later appeared at the US Open, she wore a tutu.