Australian Open Increases Prize Purse, Haas Ready To Return

STANRBERG, December 23, 2016

The Australian Open has increased its total prize money by 14 percent to a record A$50 million (about €35 million), with A$3.7 million (€2.58 million) up for grabs for the winners of the singles tournaments, the organizers announced this week.

The prize purse for the first Grand Slam tournamet of the season has more than tripled since 2001, and risen A$10 million (about €6.9 million) since 2014.

“It was especially important for us to increase the compensation for players in the early rounds and qualifying, and this year we have made some real gains,” tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement.

“Our aim is to shift the break-even point for professional players, to ensure that tennis is a viable career option for the best male and female athletes in the world,” he added.

Second round prize money has risen 29 percent to A$80,000 (about €55,000), with third and fourth round losers to earn A$130,000 (about €89,000) and $220,000 (about €151,000) respectively. Total prize money for the quarterfinals, semi-finals, runners up and winner is up 9 percent.

Haas Ready To Return

The Australian Open starts on January 16 in Melbourne. Part of the line-up could be Tommy Haas. The German veteran wants to celebrate his comeback to the tour down under. Haas, who played his last match in October 2015 at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, seems to be fit again. In the following 2016 season, the former World No. 2 had been sidelined from the courts with a foot injury.

“Everything is all right at the moment. I can practice without any pain and my shoulder feels better,” the 38-year-old told. “When I comepeted in the Tie Break Tens two months ago, I realized that I will have the chance to return to the tour.”

Haas, who has been designated as the new tournament director of the BNP Parisbas Open in Indian Wells wants to play his home tournaments in Germany in particular. The ATP 250 event in Stuttgart in June is part of his 2017 schedule.