Following in the footsteps of the organisers of the Wimbledon Championships and the French Open, the US Tennis Association has recently announced that it will be increasing the prize money for this year’s US Open tournament, due to start on 27th August.
A planned increase of 11% is expected to be given this year, taking the total prize money for singles events from $23.7 million to a record $25.5 million. Although prize money for the men’s and women’s champions will have a $100,000 boost, it is the players who lose out in the opening rounds that can expect to benefit the most from this change.
Both Wimbledon and the French Open gave opening round players the largest boost in prize money following a meeting between tennis’ Big Four – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – and Grand Slam officials where the players lobbied for an increase in pay for lower-ranked players. In accordance with this, players who go out in the first rounds of the US Open will receive a payout increase of 21%, and players who lose during the second rounds will receive a similar 19% increase.
The total prize money increase planned by the USTA is the largest out of the three Grand Slams that are following this new model. Total prize money at the French Open increased by 7% this year, and it was a similar story at Wimbledon with a 10% overall prize money increase. The Australian Open is now expected to follow suit, as it is the only Slam left not to directly boost the income of lower-ranked players.
Speaking about the increase in a statement released on Wednesday, USTA president Jon Vegosen commented that the organisation “recognised the mounting financial pressures associated with competing on the global professional tennis circuits……We believe the additional prize money, as well as how it will be strategically distributed, will help alleviate some of the pressure.”