Sharapova Against Australian Open's Increased Prize Money Going To First-Round Losers
Maria Sharapova "is not convinced it is a good idea" to give first-round losers at next year's Australian Open a huge pay increase as part of a A$4M ($4.1M) rise in overall prize money, according to Martyn Herman of REUTERS. It was announced earlier this month that the total prize money pool at the opening Grand Slam of '13 "had risen to A$30M." Exactly how the money will be divvied up has not yet been announced, however, "it is expected that the biggest increase will be weighted toward the early rounds." Sharapova said, "I don't know if I agree with a raise for a first-round loss. I think the compensation as you win more rounds is right, but I'm not sure about the first rounds." While not enthused by the prospect of first-round losers enjoying a financial boost, Sharapova said that she was happy the Australian Open had taken the lead. Sharapova: "If you compare the percentage of what we (the players) are making compared to the other Grand Slams, certainly the Australian Open is doing a much better job of compensating us based on their revenue" (REUTERS, 10/23). In London, Neil Harman noted there has been "underlying controversy at the heart of the continuing hike in Grand-Slam prize money because several male players are indignant that the WTA Tour has ridden on the coat-tails of the ATP Tour in the debate for a greater share." Sharapova, when asked if she would have taken a call from ATP Player Council President Roger Federer to discuss a combined strategy, said, "If he wanted to, I would absolutely. Why not? At the end of the day we’re all tennis players, we all have the same agenda, and we all want to be compensated for what we do" (LONDON TIMES, 10/23).