Big increases for Aussie losers
Organisers of the Australian Open have revealed early-round losers at January's tournament will receive a significant pay rise.
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Players, most notably the male ones, have campaigned strongly for the lower-ranked players to receive more money, claiming many struggle to meet the expenses incurred by playing on a global tour.
The opening Grand Slam of the season had already revealed a big increase in the total prize fund, seeing off the threat of a player boycott, and now officials will hope the players are appeased by the exact breakdown of how the money will be allocated.
First-round losers will receive Aus$27,600 (£17,800) - up 33 per cent. Second-round losers will get Aus$45,500 (£29,350) - 37 per cent higher - and third-round losers will receive Aus$71,000 (£45,800), a 30 per cent rise.
"Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make a decent living," tournament director Craig Tiley said.
"It is a real issue and needs to be urgently addressed throughout the sport.
"That is why the biggest increases are in the earlier rounds, qualifying and doubles which in effect rewards a lot of the lower-ranked players for their achievements which, by the way, should not be undersold.
"To just reach the main draw of a Slam, a professional tennis player has to be among the top 100 in what is one of, if not the most, competitive professional sport in the world."
He added: "At the same time we also still want to continue to recognise the incredible drawing power and contribution of the top players.
"It is always a balance which is why we undertook unprecedented consultation on this subject with the tours and players who have been extremely supportive.
"We will not be stopping here. There will be more talks and more increases during the next four years. This is just a very positive first step."
The 2013 singles champions at Melbourne Park will each collect Aus$2.43million (£1.57million). That's Aus$130,000 more than this year's winners, a 5.7 per cent increase.