French Open has extra incentive for Nadal, Djokovic, Williams as tournament prize money swells

Key Points
  • Tournament prize money has increased by 8 per cent to 42,661,000 euros ($48.4 million) from 2018.
  • Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep are the defending men’s and women’s singles champions.
  • Prize money for 2019 first round losers has increased by 15 per cent to 46,000 euros.
Serena Williams of the U.S. in action in the French Open, June 2, 2018.
Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters

The French Open has announced an 8 percent increase in its prize money this year.

The 2019 prize pot at the Roland Garros tournament has swelled by 8 per cent compared with 2018, to reach a total of 42,661,000 euros ($48.4 million), according to an official release published Friday.

The French Open will be the next stop for Tennis on its Grand Slam calendar when it begins on May 26, with the tournament concluding with the men's singles final on June 9th.

Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep are the defending men's and women's singles champions and the clay court event has had a further boost this year with the news Roger Federer will be in the draw for the first time since 2015.

The most significant increase in prize money on offer has come in the amounts offered for players who exit in the early rounds.

Those who are beaten in "week 1" of the tournament will see a significant increase in their earnings, over 10 percent, on average, from the opening round to the Round of 16.

The loser of any first round match will still receive 46,000 euros, which is still considerably less than the 2.3 million euros the male or female champion will receive.

The President of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, and the Tournament Director, Guy Forget said last week they wanted to continue narrowing the gap between the amounts awarded to the tournament winners, in both the women's and men's singles events and to the players who are knocked out in the first round.

A special effort has been made for the qualifying rounds, whose prize money has risen by an average of nearly 15 per cent. Players who now make it as far as the final qualifying round, but not into the main draw itself stand to earn 24,000 euros.

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