Prize money in sports has been on the rise for generations, but professional tennis may have just reached its biggest milestone yet.
This year’s US Open will feature a purse of more than $US50 million, according to an announcement from tournament organisers. It’s the first tennis tournament in history to offer so much, topping last year’s mark by almost $US4 million.
“Five years ago, we committed to the players that total player compensation for players would reach $US50 million at the US Open, and we are honouring that commitment,” said United States Tennis Association president Katrina Adams in a statement.
The new purse is a massive increase from just five years ago, when men’s singles champion Andy Murray took home $US1.9 million for his win. This year’s singles winners will pocket $US3.7 million apiece, nearly doubling that figure.
The tournament’s total prize money is significantly greater than those offered by the other three majors, which all have purses hovering around $US40 million. Roger Federer won nearly $US2.9 million for his victory at Wimbledon earlier this month.
The purse increase is particularly significant for the women’s draws. Other professional sports, like golf and basketball, award their female athletes a mere fraction of what male stars earn, but Grand Slam tennis tournaments pay both sexes equally. This year’s women’s singles champion will earn nearly three times as much prize money as top-ranked LPGA golfer So Yeon Ryu did in all of 2016.
The US Open starts on August 28. Stan Wawrinka and Angelique Kerber will attempt to defend their titles — this time, with even more money on the line.