MELBOURNE (TIP): Australian Open organisers said Friday they had raised the prize money for the year’s first Grand Slam to a record Aus$40 million (US$32 million), with the singles winners taking home Aus$3.1 million each.
The increase in the cash pool was meant to compensate for the decline in the Australian dollar, officials said, which fell to a five-and-a-half year low this week.
“Obviously this is not a decision we have taken without a lot of consideration,” Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said.
“But we have an ongoing commitment to the players that we are determined to help improve the pay and conditions of life on the international tennis tour.”
The prize money was boosted to Aus$33 million last year, from Aus$30 million in 2013, when organisers reacted to threats of a boycott from players pressing for a greater share of revenue.
“We have done a lot of work within our business to position ourselves to make this critical investment in the players and for the long-term future of the Australian Open,” Tennis Australia president Steve Healy added.
The latest increase, which will see a first-round loser receive Aus$34,500, means the prize pot has doubled from Aus$20 million in 2007
The tournament will be held at Melbourne Park from January 19 to February 1 and attracts the world’s top players, including seven-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and 18th Grand Slam singles title holder Serena Williams.