Record prize money for 2011 Australian Open
Melbourne: Next year`s Australian Open will be the richest tournament in Grand Slam tennis history, with the winners of both the men`s and women`s singles to pocket 2.3 million dollars (USD 2.2 million).
Organizers announced on Tuesday that a total of 26 million dollars ($25 million) will be paid out in next January`s event.
Martina Hingis will be the main attraction to the new women`s legends event; although there was no immediate confirmation of reports the former women`s No. 1 would play mixed doubles with fellow Swiss Roger Federer in preparation for a potential pairing at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Tournament director Craig Tiley said he expected defending champion Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams to bolster a women`s draw that will have added interest for local fans next year following Sam Stosur`s title win at the U.S. Open.
"We know that Kim`s been out for most of the year, but she`s planning on being back to defend her title," Tiley was quoted as saying in an interview. "We`ve still got three months to go, but the last communication is she`s planning on being back.”
"The same thing with Serena, she unfortunately missed this year`s Open with her injury, but she`s back playing, we all saw at the finals of the U.S. Open, and she`ll be here too."
Organisers also announced the Hawk-Eye line calling system will be expanded from two to three show courts for the January 16-29 tournament.