Tennis

Andy Murray wants prize money filtered down to lower ranked players

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British number one Andy Murray has called for an increase in prize money for lower ranked players on the tour.

The Wimbledon champion believes that it should be made possible for less successful professionals to break even, as many struggle to fund themselves.

This is particularly the case on the International Tennis Federation Futures tour, where prize money has not increased since the tour was remodelled in 1998, which is not in tandem with the general cost of living, as it has risen by 53% since then.

The prize money for the winner of a Futures tournament rarely exceeds £1,000, while a player who loses in the earlier rounds is barely able to cover his/her expenses, such as travel, accommodation, food and equipment.

Some tournaments pay a winner's’ cheque of just £850, and a player who even reach the quarter-finals may have to put up with a prize of £175.

A subsidising of prize money for more successful players at tournaments could help bridge the gap, and that is the idea that the 27-year-old Murray has proposed.

Murray said in an interview with BBC Sport: "If you win the tournament that week, you can just about pay for your hotel room and travel. You're losing money.

“It's not about making millions, it's about being able to make a living.”

The world number eight played in Challenger events himself in the early stages of his professional career, and Murray is hoping that more players will be able to make a living in the game over a sustained period of time.

"There's a lot of players that have to stop when they are 21 or 22 because they can't afford to play the game because the prize money is not high enough.

"The Grand Slams obviously make a lot of money and the players at the top of the game could certainly help with that, too."

There were almost 1,200 tournaments played when adding together the men’s and women’s tour in 2013, which were played across 80 countries.

The ITF are currently holding a review of all professional tournaments, and an increase in prize money would not be brought in before the conclusion of the review.

There has been a recent effort from the Grand Slam tournaments to give better rewards to players who lose in the earlier rounds, and it was announced in April that players who exit in the first three rounds at Wimbledon this year will receive £27,000, which is an increase of over 100% on the previous sum of £11,500.

The qualification process is underway for the second Grand Slam of the year at the French Open, where the prize fund has also increased, with losers in the second, third and fourth rounds being given the biggest increase.

Philip Brook, chairman at the All England Club, has said that while prize money can be increased, funding of players is also an issue that could be addressed in the future.
"It's not something that we have ever done in the past.

"But I think that it's an interesting idea because this is a sport-wide problem and people often look to the Grand Slams to take a leadership role in these areas.

"The Grand Slams have done that, I think, in terms of the prize money at their own tournaments, but that isn't to say that we couldn't take a wider look at it and try and help a larger group of players."

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Andy Murray
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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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