Responding to the outcry triggered when an umpire called a code violation against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet for changing her shirt on the court even though male players were allowed to do so, the U.S. Tennis Assn. said Wednesday all competitors at the U.S. Open will be permitted to change their shirts while seated in a courtside chair. The USTA, which operates the U.S. Open, also expressed “regret” the violation was assessed.
Cornet went to the locker room and changed into a clean shirt during a 10-minute heat break after the second set of her match on Tuesday. After realizing she had put the garment on backward, she pulled it over her head and reversed it between points, when the umpire called the violation. She lost to Johanna Larsson in three sets but said Wednesday the incident was not the cause. She also said she appreciated the apology but was over the whole thing.
“When I woke up [Wednesday] morning I didn’t think that this code violation would become so famous in less than 24 hours,” she said. “Because on the court it really seemed like a mistake from the umpire and nothing else. That’s how I take it.”
It was widely seen as another effort to impose unfair controls on female players because it happened a few days after the head of the French tennis federation outlawed the catsuit Serena Williams wore at the French Open. “What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena’s catsuit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me on the court [Tuesday] Cornet said, “because he’s president of the French Federation and he doesn’t have to do that.”
The USTA also said female players can change their shirts in a more private location near the court, if available, and won’t be assessed a bathroom break.
Defending champs advance
Sloane Stephens, the 2017 women’s winner, knew little about her second-round opponent, qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine. “When I walked on court I was, like, ‘OK, that's who that is,’” Stephens said. She made sure Kalinina wouldn’t be known as a giant killer. “Sometimes it's not going to be the best, but you've just got to battle through,” Stephens said after her 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory. She will next face Victoria Azarenka, a two-time U.S. Open finalist and former world No. 1 who eased past No. 25 Daria Gavrilova of Australia, 6-1, 6-2. Azarenka left the tour while involved in a dispute over custody of her son and returned in April. She got a wild card to play here for the first time since 2015.
Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal outplayed Vasek Pospisil of Canada, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round. “I just can say thank you very much to all the people who stayed late on a very warm day,” Nadal said.
2012 U.S. Open winner Andy Murray, returning from hip surgery, lost to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Murray said Verdasco talked to his coach and another player during the heat break, which is forbidden. Murray reported it to the supervisor. “This is one of the biggest events in the world. If you have rules like that, you need to stick with them because one player getting to speak to the coach and the other not is not fair,” Murray said. Verdasco said he saw his coach but they didn’t speak. Verdasco will face No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
No. 15 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, expected to be a factor here, was upset by Daniil Medvedev of Russia, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Tsitsipas, 20, said he felt “empty” after losing. “I really want to do more, win more, but I feel like my body is not ready for that,” he said.