US Open prize money rise challenges Wimbledon

The total prize money at Flushing Meadows will rise to $50m in the summer

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The Independent Online

Wimbledon will come under pressure to offer a major increase in its prize money after the US Open prepared to announce some of the biggest rises in the history of the sport.

Prize money at Flushing Meadows this year will total $33.6m (£22.2m), an increase of $8.1m on 2012. By 2017 it will rise to $50m, almost double the figure for last year, when Andy Murray won his maiden Slam.

Winnings at Grand Slam tournaments have been a bone of contention for some time with the male players, who have complained that their share of total revenues is less than in many other sports. All four Grand Slam events have made significant moves to increase their prize money ever since the players' dissatisfaction with a number of issues became evident at the US Open two years ago.

Wimbledon responded by increasing prize money last year by 10 per cent on 2011 to £16.1m. However, the move by the US Tennis Association to agree an unprecedented five-year deal with the men's and women's tours, offers a major challenge for the All England Club, which is due to announce prize money for this summer's Championships next month, and to the French Open, also yet to reveal details.

To match the prize money on offer in New York, Wimbledon would have to increase the total pool by nearly 40 per cent. An alternative approach would be to follow the example of the Australian Open, which this year increased prize money to $Aus30m (£20.6m), and paid $Aus 1,000 (£687) per player for travel costs.

* Britain's Heather Watson has reversed her decision to take a break from tennis, citing disappointment as the reason behind her comments on Tuesday. The 20-year-old Channel Islander said in the wake of her first-round loss to Ayumi Morita at the Sony Open in Miami that she was suffering from "burn out" and would be stripping back her schedule, raising slight fears about her participation at the French Open and Wimbledon. However, she said: "Yesterday when I was speaking to the press after my interview I was very upset about my match and wasn't really thinking straight. I'm going to carry on with my schedule." She competes in Charleston next week.

Laura Robson earned her first win since the Australian Open in January in Miami last night. The British No 2 beat Camila Giorgi in three sets, seeing off the Italian 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.