(CNN)It’s hard to think of a time when the focus was on the clothes that male tennis stars were wearing at a major tournament rather than how they’re playing on court.
But that’s where the women’s game has found itself this week at the US Open after Serena Williams was told to put her black catsuit back in the wardrobe, while French star Alize Cornet was penalized for briefly taking her top off on court.Cornet has now spoken publicly for the first time about tennis’ “sexism” row, saying comments from a leading French tennis official about William’s catsuit are “10,000 times worse” than her own treatment at Flushing Meadows.Follow @cnnsport The United States Tennis Association subsequently apologized to Cornet for the court violation she was handed during her match against Sweden’s Johanna Larsson Tuesday.Cornet was actually readjusting her shirt after putting it on the wrong way round during a 10-minute heat break due to sweltering heat in New York, sparking outcry and claims of double standards for men and women.Read More
US Open Statement on Change of Attire Policy pic.twitter.com/Kt7EcuPz1S
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2018 Cornet told reporters in New York she “appreciated” the apology, but criticized Bernard Guidicelli, head of the French Tennis Federation, for saying “you have to respect the game and the place,” as he told Tennis Magazine Williams’ skin-tight suit would be banned next year at Roland Garros. “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,” Cornet said at Flushing Meadows Wednesday.The 28-year-old Cornet added Giudicelli “lives in another time,” while elsewhere the drive for sexual equality in tennis was “on the right path” with “everybody working in the same direction.””Then we still have some people, like, the president of my federation that lives in another, you know, time, and can still do these kind of comments. They are totally for me shocking, and, I mean, I’m just saying what I think.”READ: US Open embroiled in ‘sexism’ controversyREAD: Williams’ catsuit set to be consigned to closetJUST WATCHEDSerena’s catsuit banned by French OpenReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH
Serena’s catsuit banned by French Open 00:45’Everything is fine’Williams wore the black catsuit in her first grand slam match since becoming a mother when she played at Roland Garros in May.She said the outfit made her feel like a “superhero” but added that it also helped with her circulation after she had issues with blood clots following her pregnancy.Guidicelli said of the decision to introduce a tighter clothing regulations at Roland Garros: “I think we sometimes went too far. The combination of Serena this year, for example, it will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.” US tennis great Billie Jean King was highly critical of the stance, tweeting: “The policing of women’s bodies must end. “The ‘respect’ that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies.”Before the US Open started Williams brushed off the controversy, saying “everything is fine” and that Guidicelli “had been really amazing,” adding “grand slams have a right to do what they want to do.” Wimbledon has a strict dress code that states clothing, including shoes, be “almost entirely white and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround.”Officials at Roland Garros declined to respond to Cornet’s comments when asked by CNN Sport.READ: Serena sports striking US Open outfit Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarSerena Williams has taken tennis fashion to new heights. In New York she wore a $500 black-and-brown one-shoulder silhouette dress with tulle skirt for her 2018 US Open debut.Hide Caption 1 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarWilliams, playing her first home Slam since giving birth to her first child last year, entered the Arthur Ashe Stadium in a black bomber jacket with white trim. Hide Caption 2 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarWilliams turned heads with her striking black catsuit in the first round of the 2018 French Open in Paris — tournament organizers have since tightened dress codes for next year, meaning the catsuit will be consigned to the closet.Hide Caption 3 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarThe 23-time grand slam champion was playing in her first major since giving birth to her first child in September. “I feel like a warrior princess in it,” she told reporters. ” I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”Hide Caption 4 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarThe 36-year-old American said the skintight suit also served a practical purpose after enduring a difficult childbirth. “I had a lot of problems with my blood clots. So there is definitely a little functionality to it,” she said.Hide Caption 5 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarWilliams sticks with black and pink during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. Hide Caption 6 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarSerena attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. Hide Caption 7 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarSerena enjoyed an astonishing 2015 season — winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. She missed the China Open and WTA finals after revealing she needed time to recover from a grueling year.Hide Caption 8 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarAt the beginning – Serena sports a beaded hairstyle as she celebrates her first U.S. Open title — and her first major — back in 1999.Hide Caption 9 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarParisian style – Serena Williams poses on court after triumphing in the 2015 French Open final. Hide Caption 10 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarIn the pink – Serena blasts down a powerful serve on her way to another victory.Hide Caption 11 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarHeight of fashion – In 1999, Williams enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida to study fashion design. Here, she shows a collection of her designs at the 2012 Australian Open.Hide Caption 12 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarIf the cap fits… – Williams, the world’s No. 1 player, serves during a training session ahead of the 2015 French Open in Paris.Hide Caption 13 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarTraditional values – Williams celebrated her sixth Wimbledon title in 2015, resplendent in the All England Club’s traditional all-white attire. It meant she held all four grand slam titles, going back to the 2014 U.S. Open — her second “Serena Slam.”Hide Caption 14 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarThe cat's whiskers – Serena sported a catsuit when she played Corina Morariu during the 2002 U.S. Open. That title was the third leg of her first non-calendar “Serena Slam,” which she completed months later at the 2003 Australian Open.Hide Caption 15 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarMaking an entrance – Williams waves to the crowd as she enters stadium court before her match against Monica Niculescu of Romania at Indian Wells in 2015.Hide Caption 16 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarGlowing performance – In a neon yellow outfit, Serena celebrates against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece during the 2012 Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.Hide Caption 17 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarBlue moment – Williams looks crestfallen as she reflects on a point that got away.Hide Caption 18 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarSuitable occasion – A more formally-attired Serena celebrates one of her six victories at the U.S. Open.Hide Caption 19 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarBlack and white image – The Florida resident has triumphed at the US Open in New York six times. Hide Caption 20 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarPower play – With her hair — which she once described as “super crazy” — tied back, Serena blasts a shot in a match against Ana Ivanovic in Cincinnati.Hide Caption 21 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarOut of the shadows – Serena serves on a sunny day at Flushing Meadows, New York.Hide Caption 22 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarUp in the air – Williams celebrates after winning the Madrid Open final against Maria Sharapova in 2013.Hide Caption 23 of 24 Photos: Serena Williams: Stylish superstarHair-raising – Serena sports a new style at the Australian Open in 2013.Hide Caption 24 of 24‘Nothing wrong’Conditions have been stifling in New York this week and players have been allowed a 10-minute heat break to shower or take an ice bath and change clothes. Cornet said she was rushing back from her break and only discovered she had her shirt on the wrong way around only when her boyfriend pointed it out. “I couldn’t play the whole third set like this,” she said, adding the chair umpire “was probably overwhelmed by the situation.”Cornet added: “I was surprised when I just changed T-shirt really quick and he gave me the code violation, I didn’t expect it, and I told him it was pretty weird.”But I don’t involve the USTA in all this, and they apologized very quickly to me, so no problem.”On Wednesday, USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier told CNN by phone that Cornet was given a code violation for “changing her shirt at the baseline. That was considered unprofessional conduct.”According to Widmaier, players can change their attire “as long as it is when they are sitting in the chair.”Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka said the decision to penalize Cornet was “ridiculous.” “It was nothing wrong. Nothing wrong, “she told reporters. “It wasn’t anything disrespectful. She literally changed her shirt because it was backwards. So I couldn’t believe this was a conversation.Visit CNN.com/tennis for more news, features and videos “I’m glad they apologized, and I hope this never happens again.”