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US Open winners face $850,000 pay cut as virus bites

AFP logoAFP 05/08/2020 AFP
a stadium with a green field: US Open organisers have announced a reduced purse for this year's tournament, which is taking place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic © Jamie Squire US Open organisers have announced a reduced purse for this year's tournament, which is taking place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic

The winners of this year's US Open singles titles will receive an $850,000-dollar paycut as the tournament feels the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said Wednesday.

In a statement, the US Open said this year's event, which is taking place without fans, would have a total compensation of $53.4 million compared with about $57 million in 2019.

The winners of the mens's and women's singles would receive $3 million each compared to $3.85 million apiece in 2019.

But players in the first rounds will receive a pay bump in recognition of the financial hardship during a season that has been decimated by COVID-19.

First round players will receive $61,000 this year, compared to $58,000 in 2019. Money for the second and third rounds remains unchanged at $100,000 and $163,000 respectively.

The USTA said it will also make available $7.6 million to provide monetary assistance to players who have seen earning opportunities stymied by tennis's near-five-month shutdown.

The USTA had previously contributed $1 million to the sport's Player Relief Program, but is now making an additional $6.6 million available.

The funds will be allocated equally between the WTA and ATP tours, with each organization determining how they will be distributed to players, the USTA said in a statement.

"We're proud to be able to offer a player compensation package that maintains nearly 95 percent of the prize pool from 2019," said Mike Dowse, USTA chief executive and executive director.

"The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time."

The 2020 US Open gets under way on August 31 before wrapping up on September 13.

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