Haas' shoulders ruled out of bounds

Umpire: Sleeveless shirt crosses proper-dress line

U.S. Open notebook

August 29, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - It's Shirtgate.

Women at the U.S. Open are wearing everything from Serena Williams' black, self-titled "cat suit" to Anna Kournikova's hip and midriff-revealing two-piece outfit. But when Tommy Haas, the No. 3 player on the men's tour came to play his match yesterday in a sleeveless shirt, he was told to change.

Why?

"It's not customary attire," said head referee Brian Earley, who was called to the Grandstand Court to make the call.

Article III C in the Grand Slam Rule Book, under the sub-category of dress and equipment, says: "Every player shall dress and present himself for play in a professional manner. Clean and customarily acceptable tennis attire shall be worn as determined by each respective Grand Slam."

Before Williams appeared in her bodysuit, Puma submitted its design to tournament officials for pre-approval. It is a customary practice because manufacturers usually don't want to produce something their stars can't wear - or sell.

Nike did not submit Haas' sleeveless shirt.

"Nike felt that the shirt would not offend anyone," said Mark Shapiro, a Nike spokesman "We didn't think it would stir things up."

The white shirt in question has nicely hemmed shoulder openings and is made of breathable material that would have been perfect on a day like yesterday.

Williams was stunned when told what happened to Haas.

"You're kidding," she said. "It's definitely not fair. You should be able to make statements if you want to. I think for the guys and the ladies, you should wear whatever you please. Someone can't tell me what to wear."

But Earley said he, in fact, could say no to Williams or any other player and he took "full responsibility" for the Haas decision that drew the crowd's boos.

Haas, who made a stirring comeback from two sets down to beat David Sanchez, 7-6 (1), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, changed shirts without complaint, but several hours after his match, he agreed with Williams.

"You see what's going on on the women's side," said Haas, who said he helped design the shirt as sleeveless because he has been bothered by sleeves for a long time.

Revealing MRI

Mark Philippoussis, who retired from his match Tuesday after injuring his left knee, learned he will miss the next two months with a significant bone bruise. A magnetic resonance imaging showed Philippoussis hyperextended his knee while falling in his match. He is experiencing swelling and pain, but no surgery is required.

Seeds fall

No. 5 Jelena Dokic played a listless match and was swept out of the Open by Elena Bovina, 6-3, 6-3.

"She played well and just, in general, I didn't," said Dokic. "I didn't move so well. My serve wasn't too bad. I just had trouble staying in points because I made too many errors. You know, you cannot do that. It just wasn't good enough."

No. 12 seed Elena Demmentieva also lost. She was beaten by Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7), 6-3.

On the men's side, No. 16 David Nalbandian, who made it to the Wimbledon final, had a bad morning, falling to Sargis Sargsian, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

(U.S. Open results, 2D )

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