As the first Grand Slam of each year, the Australian Open has the label of a fan and player favorite. It takes place during the summer months in Australia, when the rest of the world needs some break in the action during the colder winter.
It does not have quite the same history as the other three majors, but it has evolved into a huge payday for the winners. Grand Slam champions not only gain huge ranking points for a deep run at Melbourne, but there is a chance to make considerable money as well.
How much does the champion receive in prize money at the Australian Open? In the 2021 Australian Open, the singles champion received $2.75 million (AUD). The doubles champions on both the men and women’s side received $600K to split between the 2 players.
Total Prize Money Breakdown
The Australian Open has worked hard to make a pretty big increase in prize money over the last few years. Just a few decades ago, a lack of prize money contributed to the top players skipping the Australian Open at times. It has held Grand Slam status throughout the Open Era, but the payday did not match the U.S. Open, French Open, or Wimbledon.
That all started to change at the turn of the century, as the Australian Open has seen a considerable increase in prize money since then to catch up with the rest of the world. They passed $20 million in 2007 for the first time, and found a way to reach the $30 million threshold in 2013. Huge increases in the last eight years has more than doubled the prize money, capping at $71 million in 2020.
The future of the Australian Open might be impacted (at least temporarily) by a few financial issues. For starters, right before 2020, there were a lot of wildfires that damage to certain parts of Australia. Like the rest of the world, they also faced a huge economic hit with COVID-19. Early signs indicate that the prize money might not follow go up at the same rate as in recent years, but there will be no formal announcement until very close to the next tournament.
|Singles (2021)||Prize Money (AUD)|
Winning $4.12 million puts the Australian Open right there with the rest of the Grand Slams. They also have a very similar price structure that cuts in half all the way down to the fourth round. Players who reached the fourth round in 2020 received about $300,000.
Their biggest focus seems to be on increasing prize money for the earlier rounds, which seems to be well-received overall. This is a major payday for some of the lower-ranked players, even if they only win a match or two. Making it to the first round guarantees a $90,000 payday, which is a significant increase compared to just a few years ago.
|Doubles (2021)||Prize Money (AUD)|
Prize money in doubles followed a very similar structure to singles at the Australian Open in 2021. There was very little change from year to year for those who reached the final, as the winner and runner-up receive $706,000 and $380,000 respectively. The biggest jumps came in early rounds, with first-round appearances receiving $25,000, and second-round appearance is receiving $38,000.
As is the case with every doubles tournament, this prize money is split evenly between two partners. It is one of the best paydays for doubles tournament out there, but still a far cry from the prize money handed out in the more popular single tournaments.
|Mixed Doubles (2020)||Prize Money (AUD)|
Australian Open – Total Prize Money History
Here is a breakdown of how much prize money that have been involved in the Australian Open tournament each year during the 20th century.
|Year||Total Prize Money (AUD)|
The Australian Open has been around since 1905, but it didn’t start to take off until a few changes were made. The first 50 years were pretty much exclusively limited to Australian tennis players, since it was such a hassle for the rest of the world to get to the country. By the 1960s, the Australian Open was open to all players, but the prize money did not entice that many to show up initially.
Players such as John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, and others of that era rarely played in the Australian Open during their prime, which prevented them from having nearly as many opportunities to win Grand Slam titles. Not only was the prize money low, but the tournament dates were never all that convenient. It was held in December at times, and right at the start of the new year at other times.
By the 1980s, many understood the changes were necessary for the Australian Open to truly become one of the four major tournaments every year. They began plans to build Melbourne Park, which officially opened in 1988. The tournament was also held later in January, allowing players time to get to Australia after the holidays.
Once the move was made, and travel became easier, sponsors started to role in as well. Many were very excited to see the growing support during the summer holiday season in Australia, and players quickly embraced the tournament as well.
Fast forward to the last 20 years, and it is hard to imagine just how much of a struggle it was for the tournament to grow in popularity early on. It is now viewed as every bit the equal for tennis players around the world. Novak Djokovic has dominated in recent years, and he has the record for most Australian Open men’s singles titles with eight. Margaret Court still holds the distinction for most women’s titles, taking the trophy 11 times.