A female tennis player was penalised for adjusting her top during the US Open
Serena Williams wore a tutu to the first match of the US Open on Monday in a not-so-subtle dig at the French Tennis Federation, who condemned her for wearing her now-iconic catsuit - an ensemble which, though sartorially striking, had a practical side.
The tennis player has since explained that the Black Panther-inspired outfit was helpful in preventing blood clots after she had pulmonary embolism after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, back in September of 2017. After Williams wore the catsuit to this year's French Open, the President of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, asserted that the ensemble "will no longer be accepted", and that "one must respect the game and the place."
While former tennis champ, Billie Jean King, promptly came to Williams' defence, saying that the "policing of women's bodies must end", William's approach, though lighter in tone, was no less powerful.
Now, it's been reported that a French tennis player was slapped with a violation at the US Open for taking off her shirt to readjust it while on the court.
The tournament, which was held in Queens, New York, on Tuesday, saw temperatures reach upwards of 96 degrees, with a heat index making it feel as though it was over 100 degrees at times.
The players were given a 10-minute break to cool down and rehydrate, and French tennis player, Alizé Cornet took the opportunity to put on a fresh shirt. After returning to court, she realised that her shirt was on backwards. She quickly took off the shirt and readjusted it, prompting the umpire, Christian Rask, to slap her with a code violation.
Women's Tennis Association rules state that female players are only allowed to remove their shirts when off-court. No such rules apply for male players, who were spotted taking their shirts off frequently on Tuesday to deal with the heat.
Cornet, who was playing Johanna Larsson, was understandably surprised by the penalty, which was handed out at the umpire's discretion.
The people of the internet were quick to point out the double standard at play here. "So Williams can’t cover up her whole body and Cornet can’t change her shirt on the court. What y’all want, man?" one Twitter user wrote, while another corroborated "US Tennis Open Alizé Cornet take top off because it was back to front and she’s been penalised for breaking the rules. And yet Novak Djokovic can change his top and nothing is said. Sexism in Tennis it’s the 21st Century FFS."
"French player Alize Cornet handed a court violation @#USOpen for briefly removing & adjusting her shirt in blistering heat, while Djokovic can sit topless with no penalty! The disparity between male & female players sometimes is unbelievable," a third added.
Others proceeded to post pictures of topless male players.
Cornet subsequently lost the match to Larsson.
A number of players withdrew from their matches due to the heat on Tuesday, and over 20 spectators required medical attention.