If you haven’t heard, the U.S. Open in New York City is brutally hot this year. Players are keeling over from the heat right and left, and everyone is so freaking sweaty I feel really bad for the ball kids who get the sweat towels flung in their faces after every point. A “heat rule” was in full effect today, which allows longer-than-usual breaks in between certain sets (after the second set for women and after the third set for men). The break is just 10 minutes, though, which isn’t that long to cool off, change, hydrate, and prepare once again to step onto the blazing 100-plus degree courts.
After French player Alize Cornet took one such break after dropping the second set to Johanna Larsson of Sweden, she stepped back onto the court and realized her shirt was on backwards. (She had previously been wearing a dress of the same material and design.) She quickly took the shirt off and put it back on. As she did so, chair umpire Christian Rask hit her with a code violation.
Cornet looked understandably flabbergasted. Here she is playing in the U.S. Open, trying to stay somewhat cool and dry in agonizing temperatures while still focusing on playing her best tennis and some gross chair umpire scolds her for fixing her shirt because ... boobs?? The 2018 WTA rulebook says a player can only change clothes during the end of a set, or during a medical timeout, in an off-court location. Technically, Cornet was changing at the end of the set, and the beginning of the next set. More to the point, this was a judgment call on the part of the chair umpire, who could clearly see what the issue was, and he inexplicably chose punitive action.
The first code violation issued to a player is a warning so it didn’t cost Cornet any points, but the fact that it happened in the first place is a joke, considering male tennis players are allowed to take their shirts off and put on fresh ones as often as they want during a match, without leaving the court. They often sit shirtless during changeovers and between sets and no one is scandalized. Cornet went on to lose 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
Update (Aug. 29, 11:30 a.m. ET): The U.S. Open “regret[s] that a Code Violation was assessed” to Cornet.
Update (Aug. 29, 12:05 p.m. ET): WTA slams the decision to give Cornet a code violation, saying “Alize did nothing wrong.”