Martin Fucsovics was made to change his shirt at the Australian Open on Tuesday in his loss to Grigor Dimitrov in a throwback to the furore surrounding Camila Giorgi's outfit at the French Open in 2022, and Victoria Azarenka's warm-up shirt in Melbourne in 2023. Fucsovics was preparing to take on Dimitrov when he was told by the chair umpire that his shirt was in violation of grand slam rules.
The offending detail was the fact the Hungarian's pink shirt had large sponsorship logos on both sleeves. Under grand slam rules - which are different to those on the ATP and WTA tours - players can only have one sleeve featuring a logo.
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"On here is one commercial, on here there is two," the umpire could be heard saying. "You're supposed to have one". Fucsovics was left scrambling to find a replacement shirt before the match commenced, and thankfully someone from his team was able to retrieve one from the locker room.
John Millman explained the situation in commentary for Channel 9. " In the grand slams and on the ATP you can only have a certain amount of logos, and he's got one too many," Millman said. " They need to get a measurement too, because one might be too large." The distraction didn't appear to hamper Fucsovics with the Hungarian taking the first set, before Dimitrov rattled off three straight sets to advance to the second round.
Seriously too many sponsors on the shirt? Rule needs to get changed for that
— Attila Kelenyi (@AttilaKeleny15) January 16, 2024
Camila Giorgi and Victoria Azarenka controversies revisited
It immediately sparked memories of the controversy that erupted around Italian player Giorgi at Roland Garros in 2022. Giorgi was about to do battle with Aryna Sabalenka when she was also informed that the top she was wearing was against the rules.
The chair umpire deemed that the 'DeLonghi' logo on Giorgi's shirt was too large and therefore broke the rules, asking the Italian if she had a change. “I don’t have any change, this is my only dress. I played with it before,” Giorgi could be heard saying.
There was some drama with Giorgi's dress before her match vs. Sabalenka. The comercial label was too big.
"I don't have any change, this is my only dress. I played with it before..."
Zhang then tells Giorgi to play with it and she will talk to the 'office' after the match. pic.twitter.com/J1uXMobzYG
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 28, 2022
It was eventually decided that Giorgi could play the match in the offending shirt, but she didn't wear it again in the tournament. The 32-year-old had posted a photo on social media in the outfit before the match, and she had been wearing the same one for her previous matches at the French Open. Giorgi was in action on Tuesday at the Australian Open and went down to Azarenka in a three-set battle.
Azarenka was also ordered to change a shirt she was wearing during a warm-up at the Australian Open last year. Azarenka walked out wearing a Paris St Germain football shirt ahead of her semi-final clash with Elena Rybakina, but the logo on the front was deemed too big and also a violation of the rules.
The PSG playing shirt usually features a large Qatar Airways logo on the front, which is not an official sponsor of the Australian Open. However the one Azarenka was wearing didn't feature any sponsor logos, leaving her miffed. She later explained that she wears it because it's her son's favourite team.
"I think it's the issue with the sponsorships. I guess the logos are too big," she told reporters in her post-match press conference. "I know that I'm not allowed to play in that. I knew those type of things.
"But I can still step on the court in what I want to step on the court. I do it for my own reasons. My son wore the white jersey today to his practice, and I tried to wear a white jersey to my match but couldn't. So that's okay."
Olivia Gadecki joins local hopes in exiting Australian Open
Earlier on Tuesday, home hope Olivia Gadecki dropped out in the first round after falling 6-3 6-1 to American Sloane Stephens in 56 minutes. The 21-year-old Aussie made a red-hot start, breaking Stephens to love and winning the opening eight points of the match.
But from 2-0 up she fell apart, winning just seven more points to drop the opening set with a flurry of unforced errors. Gadecki only managed to win one more game as she finished with 26 unforced errors to Stephens' seven.
She joined fellow Aussies Daria Saville, Tahlah Preston, James Duckworth, Rinky Hijikata, Omar Jasika, Marc Polmans and Aleksander Vukic - who all exited the tournament on Monday. But Alex de Minaur, Storm Hunter, Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson all prevailed to make the second round.
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