The US Open continues to offer the biggest payday in tennis despite cutting the winners’ prize money again in 2021.
Whoever triumphs in the women’s and men’s singles finals this weekend in New York will pocket $2.5m, $100,000 more than the champions of Wimbledon banked this summer.
But as with all of the Grand Slam events, the first prize continues to shrink as tournament chiefs move towards a more equitable distribution model.
The US Open is traditionally the most lucrative tennis event in the world, ahead of Wimbledon, the Australian Open, French Open and ATP Finals.
Total prize money at Flushing Meadows has this year reached a new high of more than $57m, up 7.6 per cent on 2020.
The winners’ share of $2.5m is down 16.67 per cent on the $3m offered last year, however. It has fallen by more than a third since 2019, when Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, each won $3.85m.
US Open prize money has also been cut for runners-up and losing semi-finalists, to $1.25m and $675,000 respectively.
But those players who exit the tournament during the first week will be better off than they would have been previously.
First-round losers will earn $75,000 each in 2021, a 23 per cent increase on last year. Payouts for those defeated in the second and third rounds, meanwhile, are up 15 and 10 per cent.
The more equitable prize money framework follows similar moves across tennis aimed at helping lower-ranked players, who can struggle to fund life on tour and were hardest hit by the cancellation of events during the pandemic.
How US Open prize money distribution has changed