The world’s top tennis players are set to compete for a record AU$86.5 million ($58.67 million) prize pool at the upcoming Australian Open (AO) grand Ssam after governing body Tennis Australia increased the winnings purse by AU$10 million.
The figure is a 13% increase in the total pool from 2023 and includes a significant rise for players who are eliminated in the early rounds of this year’s tournament, which runs from January 14 to 28 at Melbourne Park.
Players who make the first round of qualifiers will receive AU$31,250 – up from AU$26,000 last year – while those who enter the main draw but are eliminated in the first round will net AU$120,000.
Quarter-finalists will receive AU$600,000 and semi-finalists will gain AU$990,000. Runners-up, meanwhile, will receive AU$1.725 million. Champions will receive AU$3.15 million – AU$175,000 more than what Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka won after sealing the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, last year.
AO tournament director Craig Tiley said: “It is critical to the continued success of the Australian Open that we ensure that the best players in the world are compensated appropriately, as we know this allows players to invest in their own careers and in many cases helps set them up for success throughout the year.
“We want to ensure Australia remains the launch pad for the global tennis season and the players and their teams have everything they need to help them perform at their best.”
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Overall prize money for the first grand slam of the year has more than doubled from the AU$40 million offered in 2015 but the current figure is still AU$1 million less than the last pre-pandemic AO in 2020, which was won by Djokovic and Sofia Kenin.
Of the four grand slams, the US Open offered the most prize money in 2023, with a purse of $65 million, while Wimbledon offered a total of £44.6 million ($56.92 million). The French Open, meanwhile, had a total prize pool of €49.6 million ($54.89 million).
The announcement comes two weeks after Australian public-service broadcaster ABC acquired domestic audio rights to the AO, which will provide coverage from the event live and ad-free via the ABC local radio network and ABC Listen digital platform.
Live domestic television rights will be provided by commercial broadcaster Nine Network, which has a deal running through 2025 after signing a long-term renewal with Tennis Australia last year.
Last year’s tournament broke grand slam attendance records after attracting 902,312 visitors to Melbourne Park over three weeks.
A record 839,192 attended the main two weeks of the event from January 16 to 29 – up from 812,174 in January 2020 before pandemic restrictions were put in place. Over 60,000 also watched the qualifying events ahead of the main draw, bringing the total up to a record figure.
At the time, Tiley told news outlet the Melbourne Age he would be aiming to attract one million attendees in the future by extending the tournament’s festivities further into the weekend before the tournament officially starts.