The 2012 Australian Open is set to offer the highest prize money in the history of Grand Slam tennis. The total prize pool will be 26 million Australian Dollars (AUD), with the men’s and women’s champions taking home a record AUD 2.3 million (USD 2.18 million) each, according to atpworldtour.com.
The 2012 Australian Open was officially launched at Melbourne Park on Tuesday morning by the Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu, who also announced the tournament trophies, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy, will head to China for the first ever international leg of the Australian Open Trophy Tour next week.
Organizers also announced a new women’s legends event, which is set to feature three-times Australian Open champion Martina Hingis, and the extension of the use of hawk-eye technology to the Margaret Court Arena.
“The Australian Open inspires players at an elite and grassroots level, particularly after the success of local hero Sam Stosur, who was so impressive winning the 2011 US Open singles title last month,” Victoria premier Ted Baillieu was quoted as saying in the statement.
The men’s singles championship will be contested for the 100th time at the 2012 Australian Open. Since 1905 the men’s title has been won by 59 different players. A commemorative coin has been struck to mark the milestone and the 100th champion will also be awarded a unique medal. Roy Emerson, the record six-time champion, flew in from the United States to be part of the launch.
“Your home country’s championship obviously means a great deal. When I first won the Australian Open in 1961, 50 years ago, I was extremely proud to win,” said Emerson.
“I am very much looking forward to the launch of the Australian Open. When Craig Tiley contacted me, I was very honoured to be invited. It will be a big day for me, I’m happy I was able to make it and I’m looking forward to seeing some of my old friends, it will be terrific.”