Alize Cornet's US Open Code Violation sparks reaction, policy change

by: Multiple Authors | August 29, 2018

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

Tags: Alize Cornet

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

WATCH: Alize Cornet given Code Violation for changing her shirt on court at US Open

From Kamakshi Tandon:

NEW YORK—Alize Cornet had brushed aside the code violation she received when she briefly took off her shirt during her first-round match at the US Open, but she couldn't ignore the reaction it got.

"When I woke up this morning, I didn't think that this code violation would become so famous in less than 24 hours, and I'm very surprised about it, actually, to be honest," the Frenchwoman told press the following day. "Because on the court, it really seemed like a mistake from the umpire and nothing else."

Cornet had returned from changing clothes on a break and had been standing on the baseline when she switched her shirt around, because it was on backwards. She was given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. The USTA subsequently issued a statement, saying, "All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair." It also said of the code violation given to Cornet, "We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward." 

The WTA also issued a statement, saying the code violation "was unfair and it was not based on a WTA rule, as the WTA has no rule against a change of attire on court. This code violation came under the Grand Slam rules and we are pleased to see the USTA has now changed this policy."

There was no fine issued.

Cornet did not criticize the tournament, saying, "But I don't involve the USTA in all this, and they apologized very quickly to me, so no problem."

But she did say that the incident that got a big reaction from the other players.

"When I came in this morning in the locker room, like, many players came to me. Even former players, like Tracy Austin, I was very honored to be actually approached by her like that," said Cornet. "So all the players were supporting me for that, and were telling me that if I get fined, we would all be together and see the WTA, you know, and make a revolution and stuff. I was, like, Calm down. I'm going to get the information first and then we see, if we make a revolution or not."

Other players agreed no warning should have been issued.

"I believe that should never happen. If I would say my true feelings, it would be bleeped," said Victoria Azarenka. "I think it was ridiculous. It was nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. It wasn't anything disrespectful. She literally changed her shirt because it was backwards. So I couldn't believe this was a conversation.

"I'm glad they apologized, and I hope this never happens again."

"I think the chair umpire did a mistake. That's what happened," said Elina Svitolina. " It happens, you know. He's human, as well. You know, everyone is allowed to do mistake."

"I think the USTA, and, obviously, they all met and it was a mistake. Cornet won't be getting a fine or whatever," said Sloane Stephens.

Venus Williams declined to comment.

On the same day as Cornet's first-round match, Timea Bacsinszky told press from Switzerland that she had been escorted to a public bathroom to change her clothes, with fans asking for photos. She added that she had to argue with tournament personnel to use a small room beside the bathroom, though a better location was found for the 10-minute break following the second set.

The controversy follows recent comments by French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli about Serena Williams' 'catsuit' worn at the French Open, which he said was an instance of players going "too far," illustrating the need for a dress code.

"What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena's cat suit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me on the court yesterday, because he's the president of French Federation and because he doesn't have to do that," Cornet said.

The two issues have been cited as highlighting different standards for men and women.

"But I don't think it's just a problem on the tour. I think it's a problem in the world, unfortunately," said Azarenka. "When things and issues like this, it needs to stop at the beginning. It cannot develop anymore. It's enough. You know, the things with the cat suit, I personally don't understand it.

"There is always a double standard for men and women. But we need to push those barriers. And as players, as representatives of the WTA Tour, I believe we're gonna do the best we can to make sure that we are the most progressive sport."

Cornet also commented. "But, yes, for sure the women are treated a little bit differently," she said. "I think we are very lucky as WTA players because we have a lot of equity in this sport, and I really appreciate it."


From Ed McGrogan:

Both the US Open and WTA have issued statements after Alize Cornet was issued a Code Violation on Tuesday, for briefly removing her shirt on the court because it was on backwards. In doing so, the Frenchwoman revealed her sports bra, which apparently prompted the chair umpire on Court 13 to issue the violation. Cornet was incredulous at the decision, which was met with widespread criticism around the sports world.

With the Extreme Heat policy in effect, Cornet had just returned from 10-minute break after the second set of her first-round match against Johanna Larsson, which she lost in three sets. When she realized that her shirt was on backwards, she quickly took it off and made the adjustment, rather than asking the chair umpire to do so elsewhere.

ATP players regularly remove their shirts on court, and it was common in yesterday's oppressive heat:

On Wednesday morning, the USTA issued a statement of regret about the Code Violation, saying that it "clarified the policy to ensure this would not happen moving forward."

The WTA sharply denounced the violation in a statement of its own, saying that it came under the Grand Slam's rules—not the WTA tour's—and that "Alize did nothing wrong." The tour added that it was pleased with the USTA's quick response to the matter.

Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray, tweeted out her displeasure with the ruling, and commended the USTA for its quick action on Wednesday.

There was plenty of reaction on social media and on site in New York from players, including Victoria Azarenka. After her second-round win, the former No. 1 commented on the Cornet incident as well as the recent position by the French Tennis Federation to ban the style of "catsuit" Serena Williams wore at future Roland Garros tournaments.

We'll continue to update this story with more reaction and news as it develops.


Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel’s team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines, breaking news and player developments.

Tennis Channel’s encore, all-night match coverage will begin every evening at 11 p.m. ET, with the exception of earlier starts on Saturday and Sunday of championship weekend.

Watch the best matches from the first three Grand Slams on Tennis Channel PLUS. From Federer’s historic win at the Australian Open to Halep’s breakthrough at Roland Garros. It all starts Monday, August 27th.  

Follow the Race to ATP Finals this fall on Tennis Channel PLUS. Live coverage from the biggest stops including Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai & Paris.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

More Stories

In first match since February, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga edged by Gojowczyk

“It was a good moment for me to be back on court. It’s always a pleasure for me,” said Jo.

Tiafoe replaces Del Potro on Team World for Laver Cup in Chicago

The American just played a five-set fifth rubber in the Davis Cup semifinals.

For Kyrgios chat, ATP suspends umpire Mohamed Lahyani two tournaments

His US Open actions were "deemed to have compromised the impartiality" of an official.