Australia Open declares $4m prize money rise in desperate bid to avoid players' strike

      The Australia Open organisers have announced a four million dollar rise in the prize money for the players from next year, which is the single biggest prize money jump in its long history. Players would be paid from a record prize money pool of 30 million dollars from next year, which is a significant jump from 2012.

The move is intended to avoid the mooted strike from the world's best men asking for a greater share of tournament revenue, but organisers remain unbendable in refusing to offer a fixed percentage share of the grand slam's income. Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood said the prize money breakdown would be released after consultation with the players, but a redistribution to give a higher percentage to those who lose in the early and qualifying rounds is guaranteed. "We certainly didn't make this decision lightly," the Age quoted Woods, as saying. "Indeed, our business will suffer from pain as we go to achieve this, but we are committed to making a contribution, a major contribution, to the compensation and the conditions of the players on tour - and I think $30 million is a major contribution," he added.

Wood also promised the fairest method of distribution to aid lower-ranked players, which would in turn encourage them. Meanwhile, ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett said: "We welcome the increase in prize money for the 2013 Australian Open and acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Tennis Australia to recognise the role of the players in the success of the tournament." "We also look forward with confidence to continuing these successful discussions with a view to a longer-term understanding," he added.

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