Strewth! Aussie Open to be richest Slam
Originally published on: 05/10/10 17:02
Move over New York – next year’s Australian Open will offer a record $23.9 million (US) in total prize money, making it the richest Grand Slam of all time.
The 25 million Australian dollars is the largest in the event’s 105-year history and includes 2.2 million winner’s cheques for both the men’s and women’s singles champion, with 1 million to the runners-up in each event at the year’s opening major which runs from January 17 to 30 2011.
In comparison, the [rize fund at Wimbledon this year ran to $21.7 million US at current exchange rates. Roland Garros paid out $22.1 million, and the US Open rewarded the players with $22.6 million, the current record.
“The players come out here and that’s really what they deserve,” said tournament director Craig Tiley, who is confident last year’s women’s finalists Serena Williams and Justine Henin would both play despite large chunks of the late 2010 season with injuries to a foot and elbow respectively.
The 2011 Australian Open is being billed
In the men’s tournament, Spanish world No.1 Rafael Nadal will mount his bid for a Rafa Slam after bagging the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles this season.
A $348m redevelopment of Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open, is also underway. “The Australian Open is the largest annual event in the southern hemisphere,” Victorian Minister for Sport James Merlino told the Australian Open website. “It’s also the biggest sporting event anywhere in the world during the month of January.
“The redevelopment of Melbourne Park is the most significant happening for the Australian Open in a generation. The benefits for both the Australian Open and the sport of tennis will be phenomenal.”