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Tennis news - Novak Djokovic satisfied with prize pool ahead of Australian Open tilt

Djokovic satisfied with prize pool ahead of Australian Open tilt
By Reuters

13/01/2019 at 07:33Updated 13/01/2019 at 10:01

Novak Djokovic says he is satisfied with how the grand slams are reacting to a player-led push for bigger paychecks - but that it's not about increasing his own bank balance.

Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player's Council, has led a push for a higher percentage of earnings generated at the world's biggest tennis tournaments be distributed to players.

He said on Sunday ahead of the start of the Australian Open he was satisfied with recent prize money changes, which includes a 14 percent rise in the prize pool for the Melbourne event.

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"I have to mention that because we are focussed on distribution, equal distribution, and we are focussed more on the earlier rounds, last rounds of qualification," Djokovic told journalists.

" We're trying to increase the number of players that are able to travel around the world, not just cover expenses, have the full team, have a decent living out of the sport that they play."

An International Tennis Federation (ITF)-commissioned study previously found the break-even point where average costs met earnings in 2013 was 336 for men and 253 for women. But once coaching costs are factored in, far fewer players can make a living, with the break-even point approaching 150.

A large part of the prize money increase at the Australian Open - run by the country body and ITF, not the ATP - is directed at the earlier rounds of the tournament.

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First round losers in the main draw, for both men and women, will receive A$75,000 (£42,120), representing a 25 percent increase on the previous year.

Players can usually secure a main draw appearance by having a ranking in the top 100.

Djokovic and rival Roger Federer are both in search of a record seventh Australian Open title in Melbourne, and with it, a winner's purse of A$4.1 million (£2.3 million).

They are on opposite sides of the draw, making a final showdown a possibility between two of the sport's most successful players.