Another Three Million In Melbourne
Published October 02, 2013 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - When announced last year, the 2013 Australian Open prize pool of AUD$30 million signified the single biggest increase in the history of the sport - and the Happy Slam wasn't content staying there, as the 2014 Australian Open prize pool will be AUD$33 million.
"We said it last year and we still believe it - these incredible athletes deserve every cent and we will continue to do everything in our power to make the life of an international professional tennis player more worthwhile," Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia said of Wednesday's announcement.
That's not the only change coming - Margaret Court Arena is undergoing a massive transformation as part of the Victorian Government's $366 million redevelopment, and will sport a new look, including a new roof providing fans with shaded seating areas, with plans to make the roof retractable for 2015.
The excitement for the return of the WTA stars is already strong Down Under, as Tiley added.
"With two majors this year, Serena Williams looks pretty invincible. Sharapova will be on the comeback trail and defending champion Azarenka always plays well in Melbourne. Li Na is a hit with the Aussie crowds, and you can't discount top players like Aga Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Sam Stosur."
The Australian Open lead-up season has also started to take shape, as Williams has already confirmed her participation in the Brisbane International, where she kicked off her career-best year this year.
"I remember I was really excited to win," Williams said. "I was so focused in the final and felt it was a good start for the Australian Open. They have a great fitness center, they have great courts that are identical to the surface played in Melbourne, plus I have a week off after the tournament, so it's always a good preparation to play in Brisbane. And it's always fun to go back and try and defend your title."