Early-round losers at next month's Australian Open "will receive a significant pay rise after officials released the breakdown of the biggest purse in tennis history on Thursday," according to Darren Walton of the AAP. Responding to player demands "for a bigger slice of the pie," Tennis Australia has "averted a boycott of the opening grand slam of the year with rich rewards for the sport's battlers." With a record total purse of A$30M ($31.5M) on the table, prize money for the fourth round, quarterfinals and semifinals has increased an average of more than 14% (AAP, 12/20). The AAP also reported the 2013 Australian Open singles champions "will collect monster cheques" for A$2.43M next month during the Jan. 14-27 event (AAP, 12/21). REUTERS' Patrick Johnston noted the "biggest increases" were for first round losers in the men's and women's singles, who will now receive A$27,000, representing a 32.7% boost from '12, with those exiting in the second round receiving A$45,500, up 36.6%. The move "is likely to appease the players council," led by 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, "who had been calling for more revenue from the four elite tournaments to be passed down to those hitting the shots." Australian Open Tournament Dir Craig Tiley said, "Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make decent living" (REUTERS, 12/20).
Events and Attractions
Some of the "world's leading snowboarders" will meet in Beijing for the 11th Red Bull Nanshan Open slopestyle contest next month. The Nanshan Open was upgraded to a five-star event this year, and the prize money will reach a total of $65,000. The event will, for the first time, also include female snowboarders (CHINA DAILY, 12/20). ... The Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not feature on the European Tour's '14 schedule, as the venue will stage the Ryder Cup that same year, but it will return in the summer of '15 (European Tour). ... The Challenge Tour will venture into Ukraine next year for the first time for the Kharkov Superior Cup, scheduled to take place Sept. 12-15. Superior Golf & Spa Resort will host the event, boasting a 7,000-yard course reminiscent of a Scottish links layout, practice facilities, a five-star hotel on site and a St. Andrews-themed golf museum (European Tour).