The Australian Open begins this weekend, and the first Grand Slam of 2024 looks to set the tone for the biggest tennis events of the year.
Players at Melbourne Park will be competing for about $60 million after the Australian Open made a record 13% increase to its overall prize fund for this year’s tournament. That’s a bigger purse than last year’s French Open and Wimbledon, but still less than the U.S. Open. And once the other three tennis Grand Slams approach, each likely delivering their own annual financial boosts, the Australian Open could still be near the bottom of the prize pool.
Here’s what 2023 looked like:
- U.S. Open: $65M (up from $60M in 2022)
- Wimbledon: $57M (up from $50M)
- French Open: $53M (up from $46M)
- Australian Open: $53M (up from $49M)
Rafael Nadal isn’t competing in Melbourne this year due to injury, after initially hoping to play the Australian Open. And the tournament is expanding from 14 to 15 days in what organizers are calling an effort to better spread out matches after recent editions have seen many run into the middle of the night. But ESPN tennis analyst John McEnroe sees it otherwise. “It’s a money grab as far as I’m concerned,” he said ahead of the tournament. “They just found another way to make some money. I don’t agree with it.”
McEnroe will be back with ESPN at the Australian Open after the network opted to not send him and many other commentators to Melbourne for last year’s event, resulting in some harsh criticism of ESPN’s remote broadcasts, which were seen mostly as a cost-cutting move.