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An increase in the total prize fund available at the Australian Open has been widely accepted by tennis fans, pundits and players after a long argument over competitors’ prize money was finally resolved.

Tournament organisers have injected an extra £2.6m into the competition, although it is yet unknown how the money will be distributed. This means the total prize fund for competitors stands at £19.3m, making the Australian Open the most lucrative tennis event on the planet.

The move is good news for both fans and players after rumours surfaced earlier in the year that competitors could boycott the tournament in dispute over prize money. Although finalists and winners of tennis’ Grand Slams are well rewarded for their efforts, very rarely do competitors in the opening rounds get a fair slice of the pie.

It’s sad to admit that money talks but in a sport where players are constantly on tour, there are always two or three tournaments to pick and choose from.

What makes a Grand Slam a Grand Slam is the attraction of the world’s best male and female stars.It was what persuades fans to pay for tickets, pay subscriptions to watch on TV or even log-on to watch live tennis online.

Wimbledon may have its history but without top competitors the tournament would simply be a farce. Imagine if Andy Murray had reached the US Open final this year having beaten four men outside the world top 100 en route to the quarters.

Therefore, it is only right ‘early round’ players receive a greater share of the prize money and Australia’s move to increase the pot will help future relationships between players and organisers.

When the new season gets underway again in January, Melbourne will once more welcome the sport’s greatest players into the city, punters already deciding on their Australian Open bets. The stands will be packed; the atmosphere intense and – most importantly – the competition will be worthy of a Grand Slam tournament.
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