The U.S. Open champions, to be decided this weekend, will bring home a much heftier check than the winners in 1968, the start of tennis' professional era.
The first U.S. Open awarded a total of $100,000 in prize money. Six percent of that ($6,000) went to the women's champion, Virginia Wade. The men's champion was slated to earn $14,000, but because of his amateur status, Arthur Ashe brought home just $20 per diem.
Since, the prize money has skyrocketed. The champions earned six figures for the first time in 1983 ($120,000) and seven figures for the first time in 2003 ($1,000,000).
Also of note is 1973, the first time both men and women earned equal pay for claiming the tournament's title. That year, the champions received checks for $25,000.
At the 2017 U.S. Open, $50.4 million will be awarded in total, making it the richest tournament in tennis history. Each champion will earn a record $3.7 million check.
The runner-up will earn about half that amount: $1.83 million.
Here's how much the other men's and women's singles competitors earned at this year's Open:
Semifinal losers: $920,000
Quarterfinal losers: $470,000
Round of 16 losers: $253,625
Round of 32 losers: $144,000
Round of 64 losers: $86,000
Round of 128 losers: $50,000
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