Alize Cornet was a victim of the brutal heat that has settled in over New York City at the start of the US Open.
The “heat rule” was in effect during her match on Tuesday against Johanna Larsson of Sweden, meaning the players were allowed to take a 10-minute break to cool off and rehydrate after the second set. When Cornet returned to court she realised her shirt was back-to-front and quickly took it off and put it on correctly.
The Frenchwoman was immediately hit with a code violation by the umpire, Christian Rask. The WTA rules say players are only allowed to remove their shirts when they are off-court. Male players are not held to such rules and players such as Novak Djokovic took their shirts off on Tuesday between games to cool themselves with ice and towels in the sweltering temperatures.
Cornet looked shocked by the ruling, which is at the umpire’s discretion. Judy Murray later criticised the decision: “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,” she wrote on Twitter.
Cornet went on to lose the match 6-4, 3-6, 2-6. Temperatures hit 96F (35.5C) on Tuesday causing several players to retire early from matches and more than 20 fans to seek medical treatment. The heat and humidity is forecast to continue through Wednesday before it breaks later in the week.