When the US Open, the calendar year’s fourth and final Grand Slam tennis tournament, starts on August 26, players will be vying for record-setting prize money. The tournament will pay out $57 million in total prize money, and each round will pay out more than has ever been paid at any of the Grand Slams.
Winners of the men’s and women’s singles will receive $3.85 million and the runner-ups $1.9 million. Winners of the doubles will receive $740,000. Here’s a complete breakdown:
Doubles (each team):
“The US Open prides itself on offering the best tennis players in the world the richest total prize money in our sport,” says Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.
Stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic together have made a total of about $400 million in prize money in their careers, and even more from endorsements. For them, it seems that adding another Grand Slam title is more important than the money. But for many other players, the Grand Slams are where they can make a significant part of their yearly income because many of the tour’s smaller tournaments pay much less in prize money.
For example, the man currently ranked No. 200 in the world, Mats Moraing of Germany, has made $98,821 so far this year.
Of course this is a lot of money for most people, but it’s not a lot compared to what other world-class athletes make in some other sports. The Wall Street Journal a few years ago looked at how much the No. 32 ranked tennis player made compared with comparable athletes in other sports. At the time, the No. 32 ranked tennis player made about $750,000, while the 32nd highest-paid MLB player earned over $16 million.
In addition, it costs roughly $300,000 a year for a tennis player to pay for himself and a coach to travel to a year’s worth of tournaments. All this is to say that the money a player outside the top 200 can earn if he or she wins a few rounds at the US Open can be significant to them. Even losing in the third round would lead to a check for $163,000.
To show how much Grand Slam tennis prize money has increased over the years, a player losing in the second round this year will earn $100,000 — that’s what the total prize money was at the 1968 US Open.
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