Sharapova, Serena speak on Aussie Open prize money
Monday, October 22, 2012
ISTANBUL -- Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams are both satisfied with the prize money bump for the 2013 Australian Open, but say they expect bigger things from the Grand Slams in the future.
The Australian Open recently announced a $4.15 million increase in prize money to a record $31.1 million. The ATP Players Council then withdrew its threat of a boycott, but president Roger Federer said they were not done negotiating with the Grand Slams.
The top women players at the WTA Championships in Istanbul were scheduled to meet with Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley as well as representatives of the three other Grand Slams on Monday.
“If you compare the percentage to what we are getting at the other Slams, the Australian Open is doing a much better job of compensating us,” Sharapova told TENNIS.com, the Age and the London Times. “I think it’s time for the other Grand Slams to step up. I think the Australian Open is under a lot of pressure because they are the first Grand Slam of the year. But I think the other Grand Slams need to step up based on what they make because their revenue is much bigger than the Australian Open makes.”
Serena, who is a member of the Player’s Council, said she’s happy for now.
"I know everyone's complaining about the amount of prize money, but it was a good increase,” she told TENNIS.com. We know the tournaments are making so much money off of us. We can't start out asking for 30-40 percent [more]. Hopefully we can gradually make more progress every year.''
Serena added that she hasn't made up her mind as to how the total purse should be distributed. The men have recommended giving more to players in the lower rounds.
"Everyone deserves an increase, the first, the second, the third rounds, said Williams.
When asked whether she would be in favor of giving more of an increase to the first few rounds rather than the finalists, she said, "Sure, why not?"
Sharapova said she doesn't agree with giving more to first-round losers, but does favor a larger increase for winners of lower-round matches.
Unlike some other players such as WTA Players Council member Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who was upset with the ATP Players Council for not talking to the women before beginning negotiations with the Slams, Sharapova and Williams think that’s it’s not a real issue.
"Unfortunately we're two different tours and that's impossible unless the tours were combined,” Serena said.
Sharapova added: “There not much we can do about it, there are only few things in our control. [But] if [ATP Players Council president] Roger [Federer] wants to talk about it, I would absolutely do so. At the end of the day, we are all tennis players and we all have the same agenda and we all want to be compensated for what we do.”