Australian Open hikes prize money

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:28 IST

Australian Open organizers have increased the prize money for next year's season-opening tennis major to $10 million as the tournament positions itself as the G

Australian Open hikes prize money

Melbourne: Australian Open organizers have increased the prize money for next year's season-opening tennis major to $10 million as the tournament positions itself as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific.Launching the January 13-26 event, Australian Open Chief Executive Paul McNamee said prize money had been increased by 10 percent, to be split evenly between the men and women.World No 1 Lleyton Hewitt is committed to becoming the first Australian in 27 years to win a major at home.Women's No 1 Serena Williams has targeted the tournament to complete a career Grand Slam after collecting successive titles at the US and French Opens and Wimbledon this season. Serena missed the 2001 Australian Open with an ankle injury.Attracting Asian talentMcNamee said the Australian Open wanted to broaden its appeal in Asia in a bid to improve the skills of and opportunities for Asian players.a€œThere are encouraging signs and talented young players are coming through,a€ he said. a€œBut if you look overall at the collective performance of Asia compared with the historic success of Australia, there's a leadership role we can play that is important to help the sport grow. It doesn't reflect well on the sport that the most famous Asian tennis player is an American, Michael Chang.a€Tennis Australia already works in partnership with the Asian Tennis Federation on the development of coaches, players and officials and has offered wildcard entries to Asian players at the Australian Open since 1997.Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, last year's men's wildcard recipient, has since improved his ranking from 120 to No 31, collected his first ATP title and recorded a win over Andre Agassi at 2002 Wimbledon.(AP)

Topics : Tennis
Related Articles
Boris Becker Criticises Novak Djokovic Following Split
Boris Becker Criticises Novak Djokovic Following Split
Somdev Devvarman Backs Indian Davis Cup Captain Anand Amritraj
Somdev Devvarman Backs Indian Davis Cup Captain Anand Amritraj
Novak Djokovic Confirms Split With Coach Boris Becker
Novak Djokovic Confirms Split With Coach Boris Becker
Show Comments
Advertisement