Tennis: Record A$50m prize purse for 2017 Australian Open

(REUTERS) - The Australian Open has increased its total prize purse by 14 per cent to a record A$50 million (S$52.4 million), with A$3.7 million up for grabs for the winners of the singles tournaments, organisers said on Wednesday.

The prize money for the season's opening Grand Slam has more than trebled since 2001, and risen A$10 million since 2014.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement that organisers were focused on increasing compensation for players in the early rounds and qualifying, with first-round losers set for an A$50,000 windfall, up 30 per cent from last year.

Similarly, second-round prize money has risen 29 per cent to A$80,000, with third- and fourth-round losers to earn A$130,000 and A$220,000 respectively. Total prize money for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, runners up and winner is up 9 per cent.

The Australian Open starts on Jan 16 in Melbourne.

The singles title holders are Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber.