The tennis player at the centre of a sexism row at the US Open has expressed surprise at the uproar generated by an incident in which she was penalised for briefly exposing her sports bra on court.
Alize Cornet was handed a code violation for showing a glimpse of the black undergarment as she adjusted her shirt during her three-set defeat to Johanna Larsson on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old had left the court at Flushing Meadows following a medically induced heat break and returned without realising her top was on incorrectly, prompting her to quickly take it off and put it on the right way round.
Umpire Christian Rask immediately issued the world number 31 with a penalty, prompting many prominent figures within the game to slam the incident as sexist because male players are allowed to change their shirts on court.
But Cornet has admitted she was surprised to hear of the backlash when she woke up the following day, with tournament bosses having been forced into full-blown damage control mode.
“The women are treated a little bit differently, (but) I think it gets much better, especially in the tennis,” she said.
“I want to be clear about it and I didn’t take it that bad. I was just maybe disturbed for 10 seconds and that was it.”
The US Tennis Association (USTA) apologised for the incident on Wednesday, adding that the shirt adjustment was not a violation and should not have resulted in punishment.
But rather than turn up the heat on the USTA, Cornet has instead had those in charge of her home tournament in her sights over a recent decision to ban Serena Williams from wearing her skin-tight “warrior princess” catsuit.
Last week, Bernard Giudicelli – president of the French Federation – said the outfit “would no longer be accepted” because it had “gone too far” and players “have to respect the game and the place”.
The figure-hugging Nike bodysuit – designed to help prevent blood clots that have plagued Williams since the birth of her daughter last year – caught the attention of fans when she wore it at the French Open in May.
Williams – who will face sister Venus at the US Open on Friday – has since said she was “fine” with the ban, but Cornet has accused Mr Giudicelli of “living in another time”.
She said: “What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena’s catsuit 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.
“This kind of person doesn’t help the work that we are all doing to make it more fair for women.”