Andy Murray Praises Australian Open, Says Strike Was Not "A Real Option"
Tennis player Andy Murray yesterday said that the "general view" among players was that Tennis Australia by increasing the purse for the Australian Open "responded well to complaints that the competitors' share of the revenues generated by all four of the Grand Slam tournaments was too small," according to Paul Newman of the London INDEPENDENT. Murray said, "From our side, it's definitely going in the right direction. All the conversations we've had with (the Australian Open) have been fairly positive. They've really been the first ones to step up." Newman writes, "Where Australia leads, the other Grand Slam tournaments are likely to follow." The "threat of a strike by players at next year's Australian Open appears to have been averted by the tournament's decision to increase next year's prize-money by 15 per cent." Murray: "I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option. From all the players I've spoken to so far, everyone's been very happy with the increases in the prize-money and their plan over the next few years as well." Murray "thinks that tournaments on the main Association of Tennis Professionals tour also need to increase their prize-money" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/11).
UNITED THEY STAND: In Melbourne, Linda Pearce notes Australian Open prize money is expected to increase to AU$40M by '16 as the "stakes continue to rise in the remuneration battle between the grand slams and the men hungry for a larger slice of the expanding financial pie." Tournament Dir Craig Tiley "would not confirm" the AU$40M figure, but "reiterated the tournament's commitment to adequately compensate all players, but particularly those ranked 50 and below who often struggle financially once travelling and coaching expenses are factored in." Tennis Australia officials met with the ATP Player Council -- including president Roger Federer -- and a board of management in Shanghai over recent days "for what Tiley described as 'very positive' talks with a group that he believes is 'the most united that I've seen it in 20 years'" (Melbourne AGE, 10/9).