By HOWARD FENDRICH, Associated Press
All singles players at the U.S. Open are getting a big raise this year, from the record $2.6 million each champion will take home, to the $32,000 for everyone losing in the first round.
The U.S. Tennis Association announced the breakdown of its across-the-board prize money overhaul at the Grand Slam tournament Wednesday, four months after saying it would add more than $8 million to the pool.
The total payout, including per diems for players, will be $34.3 million, up from $25.5 million in 2012. That's an increase of about 35 percent overall.
Last year's singles champions at Flushing Meadows, Serena Williams and Andy Murray, won $1.9 million apiece. The $700,000 tacked on this time represents a rise of 37 percent.
Runners-up will get $1.3 million (up from $950,000), semifinalists $650,000 (up from $475,000) and quarterfinalists $325,000 (up from $237,500), which all also are increases of 37 percent.
The percentage jumps in earlier rounds are slightly higher. Players losing in the fourth round of singles will be paid $165,000 (up from $120,000), in the third round $93,000 (up from $65,000) and in the second round $53,000 (up from $37,000).
The $32,000 that first-round exits earn this year is up 39 percent from the $23,000 in 2012 — and is more than the $30,000 that the singles champions earned in 1976.
Doubles prize money will go up about 13 percent in 2013, while paychecks for qualifying will total $1.4 million, a 37.5 percent jump.
Main-draw singles play at the U.S. Open starts Aug. 26, with the women's final on Sunday, Sept. 8, and the men's final scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9.
In March, the USTA said it would increase its annual prize money to $50 million by 2017 — nearly double what it was last year — as part of an unprecedented five-year agreement with the men's and women's professional tours. The USTA said then that it did not plan to fund the higher prize money with a similar leap in ticket prices.
Players have been seeking a larger slice of Grand Slam revenues, and the sport's four most prestigious tournaments are complying.
This year's singles champions at Wimbledon, for example, each received about $2.4 million, up from $1.75 million in 2012, while overall prize money at the All England Club increased about 40 percent. A first-round loser got about $35,800, up from $22,100 in 2012.
Roger Federer, owner of a record 17 major titles and president of the ATP Player Council, joined other top men, including No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, in lobbying the Grand Slam tournaments to raise prize money.
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