Leading tennis players contemplating Australian Open boycott

Updated: Aug 27, 2012, 13:42 PM IST

Sydney: The world’s top tennis players are contemplating a boycott of next year’s Australian Open over an ongoing prize money dispute.

Rumours have been rife that the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is considering staging an alternative tournament to the Grand Slam in Dubai if the players do not receive a higher percentage of tournament revenues.

However the ATP, which runs the men’s tour, has denied its players could stay away from the Australian Open over a pay dispute for lower ranked players.

The major issue is not the enormous prize money on offer for the winners of Grand Slams, but rather those players that exit in the early rounds.

In 2012, the Australian Open offered 20,800 dollars to first round losers and the French Open coughed up 18,000 euros. Wimbledon agreed to pay out 14,500 pounds and the US Open will fork out 23,000 dollars.

Roger Federer is the president of the ATP Players` Council and is purportedly ready to take up the fight for a larger slice of the pie for the players.

Former US Open champion Andy Roddick said the rising costs for professional tennis players is central to the case for a pay rise.

“Compare the percentage of revenue dedicated to prize money or salaries in tennis to other sports. At the majors, our prize money is still in the teens, percentage wise, but the NBA is at a crossroads because the players earn 50 per cent of revenue,” Roddick said.

“The guys ranked 80 to 90 to 1,000 in the world aren`t making the big bucks right now, and they`re paying their own expenses, which you don`t do on a professional sports team. That is who any action would benefit,” he added.

However, the Australian Open organizers have denied fears that top players could boycott the year’s first Grand Slam.