Next year’s Australian Open will be the richest tournament in Grand Slam tennis history, with the winners of both the men’s and women’s singles to pocket $2.3 million ($US2.2 million).
Organizers announced Tuesday that a total of $26 million ($25 million) will be paid out in next January’s event.
Martina Hingis will be the main attraction to the new women’s legends event, although there was no immediate confirmation of reports the former women’s No. 1 would play mixed doubles with fellow Swiss Roger Federer in preparation for a potential pairing at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Tournament director Craig Tiley said he expected defending champion Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams to bolster a women’s draw that will have added interest for local fans next year following Sam Stosur’s title win at the U.S. Open.
“We know that Kim’s been out for most of the year, but she’s planning on being back to defend her title,” Tiley was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press. “We’ve still got three months to go, but the last communication is she’s planning on being back.
“The same thing with Serena, she unfortunately missed this year’s Open with her injury, but she’s back playing, we all saw at the finals of the U.S. Open, and she’ll be here too.”
Organizers also announced the Hawk-Eye line calling system will be expanded from two to three show courts for the Jan. 16-29 tournament.