French Open Tennis Champions and Early Losers to Get Pay Boost

French Open singles champions will get a record 1.65 million euros ($2.3 million) each, with first-week losers receiving the biggest raise as the tennis tournament responds to players’ demands for more even prize money.

Next month’s clay-court Grand Slam at Roland Garros in Paris has lifted prize money for its singles champions by 10 percent, while losers in the second, third and fourth rounds will get as much as 25 percent more, the French Tennis Federation said in an e-mailed statement today.

The increases are part of a four-year plan to increase players’ pay by 10 million euros through 2016.

Players on the men’s ATP World Tour, including top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain, have repeatedly called for a higher share of Grand Slam revenue from the sport’s four majors: the Australian, U.S. and French Opens and Wimbledon.

The annual cost of playing pro tennis is $143,000, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Tennis Association.

In 2012, the French Open became the first major to award large increases to losers in the qualifying tournament as well as the early rounds of the main draw. The other three majors have since followed.

Tournament Record

Players knocked out of this year’s French Open in the second round will receive 42,000 euros, or 7,000 euros more than in 2013. Third-round losers will get 72,000 euros, while a fourth-round exit earns 125,000 euros. Opening-round losers in the main draw will take home 24,000 euros, or 14 percent more.

The prize-money pot at Roland Garros rises by 3 million euros to a tournament record 25 million euros. That compares with A$33 million ($31 million) at this year’s Australian Open and $34 million at last year’s U.S. Open. Wimbledon will announce its prize money later this month.

The French Open starts May 25. Nadal and Serena Williams of the U.S. are the defending champions.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.