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French Open Prize Hikes

French Open trophies.French Open trophies.

The French Open will this month serve up the largest prize money pot in Grand Slam tennis so far this year, taking advantage of Brexit’s hit on Wimbledon’s purse as it shakes off its old reputation as the poorer cousin of the big four tournaments.

This year’s clay-court slam will award prize money totaling 39.20 million euros ($45.73 million). That trumps the Australian Open and Wimbledon, though it will almost certainly be knocked off the top spot by the US Open, Reuters reported on Saturday.

First round losers will see the biggest rise of 14.3% and take home 40,000 euros. Winners of the men’s and women’s singles tournaments will each receive a check for 2.2 million euros - just shy of a five percent increase.

Nonetheless, the FFT acknowledges it will be difficult in what is a grueling wage battle to maintain the near double-digit increases in the coming years.  Competition among the grand slams is fierce - from crowd numbers to roof-top technology to television ratings. But it is on prize money where rivalries are perhaps the hardest fought.

Australian Open prize money rose by 10 percent this year to $41.50 million, while Wimbledon, the oldest Grand Slam, has a prize fund of $45.27 million for 2018, up 7.6 percent from last year.

The US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year starting in August, has yet to announce its prize money. Last year it became the first tennis tournament to top $50 million following a nine percent rise in the total purse.

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