December 21, 2016 / 10:45 AM / 7 months ago

Record A$50 million prize purse for 2017 Australian Open

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A security personnel peers past a poster of the trophy at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 18, 2016.Tyrone Siu

(Reuters) - The Australian Open has increased its total prize purse by 14 percent to a record A$50 million ($36.19 million), with A$3.7 million up for grabs for the winners of the singles tournaments, organizers said on Wednesday.

The prize money for the season's opening grand slam has more than tripled since 2001, and risen A$10 million since 2014.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement that organizers were focused on increasing compensation for players in the early rounds and qualifying, with first round losers set for an A$50,000 windfall, up 30 percent from last year.

Similarly, second round prize money has risen 29 percent to A$80,000, with third and fourth round losers to earn A$130,000 and $220,000 respectively. Total prize money for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, runners up and winner is up 9 percent.

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 16 in Melbourne.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru

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