Cash boost is just first step, says Federer
Roger Federer has applauded the Australian Open's move to award more prizemoney. Photo: Reuters
Roger Federer has cautiously welcomed a move by the Australian Open to boost prizemoney but said he was not sure it was significant enough to quell player unrest in a long-running row.
The organisers of the season-opening major announced last week that the total purse would rise by $4 million to a record $30 million.
Speaking a day after a players' meeting on the eve of the Shanghai Masters, the Swiss legend and world No.1 welcomed communication between the players and the grand slams but said ''nothing is clear from this end''.
''It was good to see the Australian Open making their move, showing that they truly care about us, the players. Now we'll see where it takes us from here,'' Federer, president of the ATP player council, said. When asked if the decision had given the players leverage with the other grand slams - the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - Federer said ''we'll see''.
''The question is 'are we that extremely happy with the Australian Open?' It was nice to see they have made a move.
''Is it significant enough? I'm not sure. We'll see how things play out in the next nine months.''
Serbian world No.2 Novak Djokovic has also been vocal on the issue. Last week he welcomed the bigger purse but warned that the fight for a greater share of revenue was not over.
The prizemoney increase followed reports that players were mulling a boycott of the 2013 Australian Open to try to gain a higher percentage of grand slam revenues for player prizemoney.
One issue is the pay of lower-ranked players, who often exit in the first round.
While this year they pocketed $20,800 for a first-round defeat in Melbourne, some players struggle to make ends meet during the year as they pay for much of their own expenses and travel.
Without a high profile, they are also unable to score lucrative sponsorships.
Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood said officials were seeking further input from the players about a fairer distribution of the prizemoney.
Australian Open director Craig Tiley said the prizemoney break-up would be determined after he met players' representatives in Shanghai.
But he said the increases would be weighted towards those who lose in the early rounds.