French Open prize money increased to £40,000 for first round losers in bid to bridge pay gap…. and singles champion will take home nearly £2m
- Prize money increased for those knocked out in qualifying and the early stages
- Organisers want to narrow pay gap between big stars and lower-ranked players
- A total of £37.1m in prize money will be paid out at the year’s second grand slam
The French Open has increased its prize money by more than eight per cent for this year’s tournament.
A total of £37.1million (€42.7m) will be paid out at the year’s second grand slam compared to €39.2 in 2018.
The US Open offers the biggest prize fund, paying out £40.6m last year, while January’s Australian Open had total prize money of approximately £34m, the same as the 2018 Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal took home £1.93m by beating Dominic Thiem in the French Open final last year
In keeping with recent slams and a recognition that too few players make a living from the sport, the biggest percentage increases have come in qualifying and the early rounds of the tournament.
Players who lose in the first round of qualifying will collect €7,000 euros (£6,086), an increase of more than 16 per cent on last year, while losers in the first-round proper will take home €46,000 euros (£40,000) – 15 per cent more than last spring’s event.
The financial reward for the singles champions will be €2.3m euros (£2m) compared to €2.2m last year.
Roland Garros’ centre court is in the process of being rebuilt and will have a roof installed
Thursday also saw the inauguration of Roland Garros’ new Simonne-Mathieu court, which will be used for the first time at the tournament beginning on May 20.
After many years of political wrangling, the French Tennis Federation was finally given permission to expand into the neighbouring botanic gardens and the new 5,000-capacity court is sunken and entirely surrounded by greenhouses in order to blend into its surroundings.
Roland Garros’ centre court, Philippe Chatrier, is in the process of being rebuilt and will have a roof for next year’s tournament.