Tennis

U.S. Open clarifies changing shirt rule after controversial Cornet penalty

The U.S. Open on Wednesday clarified its rules about players changing their shirts during a match after a women's player was penalized for doing so.

French player issued code violation after fixing backward shirt on court

France's Alize Cornet, pictured above at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, was given a code violation for changing her shirt on court at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. The U.S. Open said Wednesday it regretted the decision made by the chair umpire (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The U.S. Open on Wednesday clarified its rules about players changing their shirts during a match after a women's player was penalized for doing so.

The tournament said it regretted the code violation issued to Alize Cornet of France a day earlier, a ruling that was criticized by people who thought it was unfair to women because male players frequently do it.

Cornet returned from a break in action during her match Tuesday with her shirt on backward. She took off the shirt and put it back on correctly while standing near the rear of the court and was given a code violation by the chair umpire.

The penalty drew criticism on social media, with people — including Andy Murray's mother, Judy — noting that men frequently change their shirts while sitting in their chairs during changeovers.

"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 women's tour said in a statement. "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."

U.S. Open officials said all players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair, adding that women can also change their shirts in a private location near the court if it is available without being assessed a bathroom break.

Cornet, who was playing in a doubles match Wednesday, was given no further penalty or fine.

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