Tennis Australia to reach record prize money for summer events

Prize money for the Australian tennis summer has surpassed $100M (all figures AUS) for the first time, with Australian Open players to “share in a record” $76.5M, according to Scott Spits of the Melbourne AGE. The Australian Open purse has “more than doubled” in the past decade — up from $30M in 2013. While this year’s singles champions will take home close to $3M, those individual earnings are “well down” from the more than $4M “given to the two champions in 2020.” Officials in recent years have embarked on a process of equalization, determined to “spread the wealth more evenly” and “improve the lot of those players usually ranked outside the top 100.” Prize money increases for the Open are 3-4% across the board; a player who exits the Australian Open in the first round will earn $106,250. The “biggest factor” behind an overall prize money increase of 10.8% for Australian tournaments compared to 2022 levels is the launch of the United Cup, a “mixed-gender teams event.” This year’s $100M high-water mark in Australia is “part of a pledge” made by Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley in 2018 to “increase the Australian Open winnings pool” (Melbourne AGE, 12/29).

JOINING OF FORCES: TENNIS’ Steve Tignor wrote the the ATP and WTA are joining together for the United Cup, an 18-country, 11-day competition, “headlined by many of the best from both tours.” The United Cup “takes us back to the co-gender camaraderie” of the now-defunct Hopman Cup, but “expands it across three cities, in matches that mean something for the players’ rankings, and for significantly more money — $7,500,000 each for men and women.” Tignor wrote the United Cup should “bring a new type of energy and equality to the tours, and to sports in general,” one that tennis has “mostly failed to harness” as it as traveled on separate tracks all these years. Tignor: “That, by itself, sounds like successful way to start a season to me” (TENNIS, 12/28).

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