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Volume 6 No. 216
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Australian Open Director Responds To Players, Ups First-Round Loser Payout By 30%

Australian Open Tournament Dir Craig Tiley "has flagged a record first-round losers' cheque" of at least A$27,000 ($28,300) -- a rise of almost 30% -- at next month's grand slam, according to Linda Pearce of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Consultations "are continuing with the ATP and WTA over the breakdown of the rises," which will deliver the biggest percentage increases to players eliminated in the first three rounds. Women's No.2 Maria Sharapova has questioned the idea of inflating the rewards for those who fail to win a match, but Tennis Australia "is committed to easing the financial pressure on those ranked 80th and below." On Monday, Tiley said the winner of this week's wildcard playoff could expect to earn "above A$27,000"' for contesting the Jan. 14-27 tournament. This year, players eliminated in the first round at Melbourne Park got A$20,800, compared with A$22,163 at the French Open, A$22,168 at Wimbledon and A$21,954 at the U.S. Open (SMH, 12/11).