The biggest prize in tennis has grown to record levels this year, with the US Open offering $3.5m (£2.7m) to its men’s and women’s singles champion.
Tennis stars can come away from Flushing Meadows flush with cash after the US Open cemented its position as tennis’ most generous tournament by adding $200,000 to the pay cheque handed to reigning champions Novak Djokovic and Flavia Pennetta last year.
Wimbledon handed out its biggest prize yet of £2m to this year’s winners Andy Murray and Serena Williams, and Australian Open champions Djokovic and Angelique Kerber earned the equivalent of £1.7m in January while Djokovic and Garbine Muguruza took home £1.5m afterwinning this year’s French Open.
The US Open provided the arena for Murray’s first grand slam victory in 2012. The winner’s prize has increased by 106 per cent from the $1.7m paid to the Scot for his triumph four years ago.
Murray minted - British star on course to break $50m mark
Murray only needs to avoid exiting in the first two rounds for the first time since his debut performance in 2005 to become just the fifth tennis player to take their career earnings past the $50m mark.
The world No2 has made $49.9m in prize money so far in his career — only Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal have made more — and $7.5m in 2016 alone.
Should the Scot reach the semi-finals and pocket a $875,000 paycheck, he will make this gold medal-winning year his most profitable season yet by trumping last season’s $8.1m.
Murray has already matched his 2015 haul of four titles this year, winning the Olympic gold medal — which does not include prize money, a second Wimbledon title, the Queen’s Club championships and the Italian Open. There have also been agonising but profitable near misses with losses to world No1 Djokovic in the finals of the Australian Open, the Madrid Open, the French Open as well as defeat to Marin Cilic in the Cincinnati Masters final last week.
Older brother Jamie Murray, currently the No4 ranked doubles player in the world, will be gunning for his share of the US Open’s doubles winner’s prize of $625,000 this year.
The 30-year-old reached the final with former Australian partner John Peers last year but the pair had to make do with a runner’s up prize of $275,000 after losing to French team Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.