December 21, 2016 / 10:45 AM / in a year

Record A$50 million prize purse for 2017 Australian Open

(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.

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

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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