Increase in Oz Open prize money putting pressure on US Open to follow suit

Updated: Jan 21, 2013, 19:44 PM IST

Sydney: Australian Open authorities’ decision to raise the prize money of year’s first Grand Slam has put pressure on the US Open organisers to follow the suit or face players’ revolt. The US Open is facing a walkout from an overpowering majority of the men`s players this year. There is a growing sense in Melbourne among those performing at the year`s first grand slam of the season, which has showered generosity on the players to record-breaking extent, that the comparative parsimony of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will lead to the first boycott in the sport since 81 players refused to play at Wimbledon in 1973, the paper added. In the past 12 months, each of the grand slam tournaments raised their prize money, largely to reward those who lose in the early rounds.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said in December that an additional four million dollar would be found for the overall 2013 pot and that the event would be extended for this year, at least to 15 days for a Monday men`s final, with a day in between the semi-finals and the final, the paper further reported. Top men tennis players are unhappy with what they see as an insignificant increase in their rewards, the paper reported. Their disquiet has been aggravated by the decision of the Australian Open to increase its prizemoney for the present championships to a record-breaking 30 million dollar. When the players arrived in Melbourne, they were each handed an additional 1,000 dollars to help with costs. It will be heard loud and clear if, at their meeting scheduled during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, in March, the players do not feel that the USTA has either found more money or reconsidered its Monday final decision. That is when the most critical decision in the past 40 years will be taken, the paper concluded.