Tennis Australia are contemplating raising the prize money of the 2017 Australian Open to $50 million. Tournament director Craig Tiley has confirmed that the push to better compensate the lower-ranked players in relative terms was also likely to continue at the January 16-29 event.
Before the 2012 Australian Open, many big tennis stars posed the threat of a strike for the significantly low prize money, which paved way for a series of prize pool increases at the four Grand Slams. The next edition of the Australian Open will also see another hike in the payment of the tennis stars.
Tiley said, “We believe the players — all 550 of them — should be paid well. We have led the way in offering more prize money and, while we still have to work through the specifics, we expect there will be a substantial increase for 2017.”
Tiley also reiterated the importance of paying the players well for the event's future.
"We've been always the first to respond on player compensation and I personally, as well as our team, believe that paying the players well is really important not only for the event's future, but also for the sport, and generally it's lagged behind in the players ranked between 100 and 200," Tiley said, as reported by news.com.au.
"We've stepped up by offering more prize money in ... the qualifying, and the first few rounds. So that's generally the direction we've gone as an event and we'll continue to go [that way] because we believe there needs to be a larger group of players professionally that make more money."
In 2012, the first-round losers in the main draw received $20,000, and the singles champion $2.3 million. Earlier this year, participation guaranteed at least $38,500, while the title winner's prize had risen by 48 per cent to $3.4 million.
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