Australian Open Caves To Player Boycott

The Australian Open becomes the richest tennis tournament in the world.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Tennis Australia caved into a player boycott of the nation’s premier tennis event, the Australian Open, by increasing the summer tournament’s prize money making it the richest tournament in the world.

The first Grand Slam tournament of the year, held in January, will see its prize money increase by $4 million to a total of $30 million after tensions were raised about the issue at the US Open last month.

Roger Federer led the player’s union, the ATP Players Council, in an attempt to raise funds for players ranked at the low end of the top 100 and below.

The price hike does make the tournament the richest in the world, but Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood warned the decision would hurt the sport in Australia and cutbacks will have to be made in other areas of the sport.

Players suggested last month that would consider boycotting the tournament if prize money was not increased.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said their mood has improved.

"They were very appreciative that the Australian Open has again stepped up, given them the number and gone significantly higher than probably they were expecting," said Tiley at the tournament’s launch on Tuesday.

The ATP confirmed the players’ improved feeling.

"We welcome the increase in prize money for the 2013 Australian Open and acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Tennis Australia to recognise the role of the players in the success of the tournament," ATP executive chairman Brad Drewett said.

The prize money break-up will be finalised prior to the tournament, however in 2012 first-round single losers received $20,000 while second-round losers received $33,000.

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