Australian Open Boosts Prize Money to Record $32 Million

The Australian Open will lift prize money for this month’s Grand Slam tennis championship by 21 percent to a record A$40 million ($32.6 million) partly to offset a slide in value of the Australian currency.

The singles champions will get A$3.1 million each, while a first-round loss will be rewarded with $34,500, the Australian Open said in an e-mailed statement today.

The tournament “wanted to ensure the gains made in player compensation were not eroded by the weaker Australian dollar,” organizers said in the statement.

Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley said prize money was also boosted to help players on the bottom rungs of the sport.

The Australian Open has doubled its prize money pot since 2007, when the total purse was $20 million.

“We as an international tennis community still have some work to do in ensuring that the life of an international professional tennis player is properly compensated,” he said. “This increase is simply the Australian Open honoring our pledge to the players that we will continue to look at all ways and means possible to get this right. That involves increasing prize money as well as cutting and where possible removing the costs associated with playing our events.”

The tennis season’s first major starts Jan. 19 at Melbourne Park. The tournament was won last year by Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, and China’s Li Na. The women will get a new champion because Li retired at the end of last year.

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