Tournament director Craig Tiley tells Krithika Gopalkrishnan that the Australian Open has always worked towards improving the compensation for professional tennis players.
This year, the Australian Open is offering a record $31.1 million in prize money, $4.15 million more than 2012...
The Australian Open is proud to announce this major increase in prize money. We have led the world in prize money for these incredible athletes and we want to ensure that the tournament continues to make a major contribution to the financial well-being of professionals.
Were you forced to take this decision because the players were threatening to stage a boycott?
Our intention has always been to make a major contribution towards improving the compensation of professional tennis players to make their profession more viable throughout their ranks. The attitude of the players has been very pleasing.
Has the issue strained your relationship with any of the players? What was the logic behind giving a 30 per cent increase to first-round losers?
We have negotiated with the players every step of the way and are in constant contact with them. Their response to our decision has been extremely positive and all are looking forward to coming to the Australian Open, which the players regularly vote as their favourite Grand Slam event. The push for increased prize money in the lower rounds has been led by all the top players.
There were a lot of bad calls from the linesmen in the 2012 edition. Is that the reason why you have decided to introduce Hawk-Eye on showcourts 2 and 3? Are there any plans of using it on all courts?
The electronic line calling system is a great addition to the tournament for players, officials and spectators, who enjoy the entertainment factor. We are very pleased to increase the number of courts using the technology.
The Australian Open Ground Pass is set for a price rise for the first time since 2007. How has the response from the public been? Will this see a dip in the turnout?
The Australian Open Ground Pass has often been described as the best value sporting ticket in Australia, and it will continue to deliver in 2013. For A$34, fans have access to amazing matches on all the outside courts, great entertainment and activations at Grand Slam Oval and Garden Square. You can also watch the biggest names warm up on the practice courts and catch all the action in Rod Laver Arena on the big screens.
Do you think Novak Djokovic can make it three wins in a row?
We are incredibly lucky to be in the midst of some of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and now Andy Murray, the newest Grand Slam club member, are all supremely talented athletes and fiercely competitive. They’ll all be here to win.