Officials confident no Australian Open boycott

Updated: 27 August 2012 13:59 IST

Tennis Australia said on Monday it was confident players would not boycott the Australian Open over a pay disagreement, but it was taking the threat seriously.

Officials confident no Australian Open boycott

Sydney:

Tennis Australia said on Monday it was confident players would not boycott the Australian Open over a pay disagreement, but it was taking the threat seriously.

The Sunday Times of London reported ATP Tour players were considering a boycott of January's Australian Open in a bid to gain a higher percentage of Grand Slam event revenues for themselves.

Tennis Australia director Craig Tiley said he did not view reports of a threatened boycott by players with alarm, saying he was sure the world's best players would be in Melbourne for the tournament.

"We're confident that the players will be in Melbourne in January and we'll be working through in the coming months to put forward some solution towards compensation," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

At issue is the pay of lower-ranked players who often exit in the first round after making the long journey Down Under.

While they pocket some Aus$20,800 ($21,600 US) for a first round defeat at the Australian Open, some players struggle to make ends meet during the year, as they pay for much of their own expenses and travel.

Without a high profile, they are also unable to score lucrative sponsorship deals that could help sustain their career.

"The problem is that the players that are ranked about 100 and lower are not making sufficient money to support themselves right throughout the year," Tiley said.

"It's not necessarily just a Grand Slam problem, it's an all sport problem and I think the entire sport needs to sit down and help address the issue, because at the lower ranks of our sport the prize money hasn't changed in 25 years and that's just not good enough."

Tiley said it was unfair to target the Australian Grand Slam, which this year offered the largest prize money in Grand Slam tennis with total prizes of Aus$26 million.

An ATP players meeting, including ATP players council president Roger Federer, was staged Friday in New York ahead of Monday's start of the US Open.

Federer spoke about the meeting on Saturday without mentioning a potential boycott, making it clear he would not reveal any details of what was discussed.

"Obviously always going to be rumors flying, but as long as I'm president of the player council it's always going to stay behind closed doors what exactly has been talked about," he said.

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