Does changing your top at a Grand Slam match really warrant a code violation?

Only if you're a woman, it seems...

(Image credit: REX)

Only if you're a woman, it seems...

The US Open has been at the centre of a huge sexism row this week, with unsuspecting female tennis world number 31, Alizé Cornet, accidentally starting a revolution.

During a heat break in her Tuesday match against Johanna Larsson, the French professional player noticed that her top was on inside out. So what did she do? Put it back on the right way.

Normal, right? Well, apparently not according to the Umpire.

The 28-year-old player noticed the fashion malfunction before the third set in her first round match, so took herself off to the side where she removed the top and put it back on the right way around - revealing a (very unrevealing) sports bra she was wearing underneath.

In response, she was penalised, with chair umpire Christian Rask giving her a code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour.


Haven't men been changing their t-shirts since the beginning of tennis? Don't Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer sit topless on their chairs in between sets? Well, yes, but according to the rulebook, that doesn't apply to women, who under WTA regulations are forbidden from changing their attire on the court.

The gender disparity is eye-watering.

Tennis legend Judy Murray was one of the first to call out the ruling, taking to Twitter to condemn it as sexist, followed by a girl gang of tennis players.

'Alize Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break. Had her fresh shirt on back to front. Changed at back of court. Got a code violation. Unsportsmanlike conduct...But the men can change shirts on court.'

According to the 28-year-old however, she got off easily, explaining how the decision to ban Serena Williams from wearing a catsuit at the French Open was much worse than her on-court reprimand.

‘Bernard Giudicelli lives in another time,’ Cornet explained of her federation president. ‘What he said about Serena's catsuit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me on the court on Tuesday, because he's the president of the French federation and because he doesn't have to do that.'

‘Everybody was pretty scared that I could get a fine for it,’ Alizé Cornet went on to explain. ‘I was also scared. They were telling me that if I get fined, we would all be together and see the WTA and make a revolution and stuff.’

She continued: ‘I was, like, “Calm down. I'm going to get the information first and then we see if we make a revolution or not,” I think it's very fair from them to apologise to me. I think the umpire was probably overwhelmed by the situation.’

The US Open heads have since expressed their ‘regret’ at giving Cornet a code violation, tweeting their statement on the Change of Attire Policy.

'We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday,' read their statement. 'We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward. Fortunately, she was only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine.'

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.