Tennis: US Open cuts winners' prize money

A 2019 photo shows Serena Williams of the US serving to Russia's Maria Sharapova on day one of the US Open.
A 2019 photo shows Serena Williams of the US serving to Russia's Maria Sharapova on day one of the US Open.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US Open singles winners will receive US$850,000 (S$1.1 million) less prize money this year, the United States Tennis Association said on Wednesday (Aug 5), with first-round prize money increasing.

The tennis Grand Slam, which begins on Aug 31 in New York, will take place without fans and some of the sports' biggest stars, amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak across the United States.

The US$53.4 million total prize pool is down from last year's US$57 million pot, the richest in the tournament's history, with 2020 first-round prize money jumping 5 per cent to US$61,000 from US$58,000.

Singles winners will receive US$3 million, down from US$3.85 million in 2019.

Runners up will receive US$1.5 million, down from US$1.9 million the year before.

Semi- and quarter-finalists will also see their winnings dip slightly.

"The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time," USTA chief executive officer Mike Dowse said in a written statement.

Additionally, USTA said it was donating another US$6.6 million in monetary relief for players who have seen their earnings decline after the global viral outbreak upended the professional calendar.

Defending champion Rafa Nadal and women's world number one Ashleigh Barty are among those who have decided to skip the event, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

The United States has more than 4.79 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 157,000 people have died.