PARIS • Alize Cornet was at the centre of a French Open cheating storm yesterday, after she was accused by an opponent of faking an injury.
The French tennis player called for a medical timeout and required treatment during changeovers in the final set of her second-round clash against Germany's Tatjana Maria on Thursday.
At one stage, the 26-year-old, grimacing in pain, was helped off court to her chair by a trainer and tournament superviser. She was seen to weep as she received treatment.
But Maria believed that Cornet was deliberately playing for time in order to allow her cramping to ease. At the end, Maria, 28, angrily admonished Cornet, furiously pointing her finger at the French player who won the match 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.
"You know why I'm mad at you. You know what you did," raged the German on Court Two.
Maria later vented her fury on Twitter.
"I am really sad and i know that it will not change the result! But this story is not done! Rules are here for something right?" she wrote.
Pundits and players also laid into Cornet.
"@alizecornet needs to be in LA at a casting call....ok peeps, lets have a poll. Who is more a drama queen between #Bartoli and #Cornet?" wrote TV commentator and former player Rennae Stubbs.
Dutch player Richel Hogenkamp tweeted: "Every changeover cramp treatments and an Oscar nomination... Oh and into the next round, I would say good day at the office - #cornet #BOO."
German language Tennis Magazine on its social media account dubbed the clash "Crampgate".
Cornet insisted that she played by the rules and was mystified by Maria's frustrations. "I didn't understand so much why she was so mad at me. She even told me when we shook hands that she thought I was not playing fairly," she said.
The world No. 50 said she had cramped in the right leg. However, the help she sought from the trainer was for a pain in the left leg as treatment for cramping is banned.
"I didn't take a treatment for my cramp because I know the rule, and I respect it," she said. "My right leg was totally pulling apart, but I had the treatment for my hip because I felt a pain. I'm really sorry she got so p****d because this is useless."