First round losers donít deserve pay rise: Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova is not convinced it is a good idea to give first round losers at next year's Australian Open a huge pay increase as part of a $4 million rise in overall prize money. Tournament organisers announced this month that total prize money pool has risen to $30 million, making Melbourne the richest event in tennis.
While the exact breakdown of prize money is yet to be announced, it is expected that the biggest increases will be weighted towards the early rounds ó a move intended to counter concerns that lower-ranked players were struggling to sustain on ATP and WTA Tours.
Roger Federer, ATP Player Council chief, expressed sympathy with the rank and file players who rarely reach the latter rounds of major tournaments where the big money is made but Sharapova is not convinced it is a good move. "I don't know if I agree with a raise for a first-round loss," the Russian, who is playing at the WTA Championships in Istanbul this week was quoted in The Times on Tuesday. "I think the compensation as you win more rounds is right, but I'm not sure about the first rounds," she added.
The rise in Australian Open prize money followed Wimbledon and the US Open. This year first round singles losers at Wimbledon pocketed a cheque for $23,300 -- a 26 percent rise from 2011.
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