Prize money at the Australian Open has been increased to $36.4 million for the 2017 edition of the tennis Grand Slam – making it the second richest purse in the sport.
Winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles at the tournament in Melbourne Park, which runs from January 16 to 29, will each take home $2.7 million with the overall pot up by 14 percent from 2016.
The US Open offers larger amounts to players, with a total prize fund of $46.3 million last year, but the Australian Open has now overtaken Wimbledon in second place.
Another move made by tournament organizers is the 39 percent increase for players knocked out in the first round, which now stands at $36,300, with the aim of stopping players offered bribes for match-fixing purposes.
On the opening day of the 2016 edition of the competition, files were released by the BBC and BuzzFeed saying 16 players from the world’s top 50 had been flagged up in the past decade for suspicions of corruption.
“We are committed to further improving the pay and conditions on the international tennis tour to ensure every professional tennis player is properly compensated,” said tournament director Craig Tiley.
“It was especially important for us to increase the compensation for players in the early rounds and qualifying round and this year we have made some real gains.
“Our aim is to shift the break-even point for professional players, to ensure that tennis is a viable career option for the best male and female athletes in the world.”
An Independent Review Panel (IRP) was formed to look into the sport’s practices following the corruption allegations last year.
They are due to reveal their findings before the Australian Open starts.
By George Thorpe
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.