US Open and WTA clarify shirt-change rule after ‘sexism’ accusations

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US Open and WTA officials have quickly moved to dismiss accusations of sexism after a female player received a code violation for changing her shirt on court.

Alize Cornet was hit with the penalty during her first-round defeat at the hands of Johanna Larsson on Tuesday.

The Frenchwoman put her shirt on backwards during a break and, after realising the mistake, she switched it on court, but umpire Christian Rask gave her the code violation as per the WTA rulebook.

Officials came in for criticism as male players are allowed to change their shirts on court.

However, US Open Director of Communications Chris Widmaier clarified the issue on Wednesday.

“Players who do change their shirts will not be assessed a code violation,” he said. “We regret that Ms. Cornet was assessed a code violation. However, luckily, she was assessed a warning only and there was no further penalty above a warning.

“When possible, if a more private location is near a court and is requested, that player will be allowed to go to that private location to change, and they will not be assessed a bathroom break. We follow WTA procedures regarding bathroom breaks. A quick change of attire will not considered one of their two bathroom breaks.”

Meanwhile, the WTA issued the following statement: “The code violation that USTA handed to Alize Cornet during her first round match at the US Open was unfair and it was not based on a WTA rule, as the WTA has no rule against a change of attire on court. 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.”

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