Men Threaten To Boycott Australian Open Unless Prize Money Increases
The world's top male tennis players are threatening to boycott January’s Australian Open as they seek "a bigger percentage of Grand Slam revenues to be paid in prize money," according to Barry Flatman of the SUNDAY TIMES. The top priority at a mandatory meeting for all ATP world tour players in N.Y. Saturday night was "the growing pressure to stage a mass boycott of the Australian Open," which, by virtue of both finance and geography, is "the least strong" of the four majors. Fines for non-attendance at the meeting were set on a sliding scale, with any top-10 player who stayed away without a decent explanation being forced to pay £6,300 ($10,000). There are rumors that the ATP is "considering staging an alternative event, almost certainly in Dubai, if moves are not made to give the players a higher percentage of tournament revenue," which currently stands below 20%. The biggest issue is "the pay for losers in the initial rounds." World No. 1 Roger Federer was "reluctant to make any sweeping statement" when questioned about the outcome of the meeting. Federer: "Obviously always going to be rumors flying, but I think we're on the right track for many things We are making sure everybody is on the same page and understanding the situation." On average, first-round losers at this year’s three Grand Slam events received £14,100 ($22,000) each with the Australian Open being the least lucrative at £13,683. First-round losers at the U.S. Open will be given about £14,550 ($20,500). All of the majors have "increased their prize levels this year," with Wimbledon announcing a 26% pay rise for first-round losers. There has been "no word" from Tennis Australia (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/26).