The Australian Open has announced another big prize money increase for next month’s tournament.

Players competing in Melbourne will take home a combined figure of approximately US$49 million.

But, in keeping with recent years, the biggest percentage increases come in the early rounds, with those who lose in the first round of qualifying – all players ranked outside the top 100 approximately €14,400, an increase of more than 30 per cent from 2019.

First-round losers in the main draw will take home AU$90,000, compared to $75,000 dollars last year, while players who go out in the second round are guaranteed $128,000.

The news comes against a back drop of a push by a group of players, including ATP Player Council president Novak Djokovic, to force the slams to share a greater percentage of their revenue.

Not surprisingly, the Australian Open was keen to show how much it had upped prize money recently, with an increase of more than 60 per cent over the last five years and a 13.6 per cent rise from 2019.

Naomi Osaka at Brighton Beach with the Women’s Singles Championship trophy. Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/ Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

Tournament director Craig Tiley said: “We have long been committed to improving the pay and conditions for a deeper pool of international tennis players.

“In fact, since AO 2007, prize money has more than tripled from 20million dollars to the 71million dollars for 2020 we are announcing today.

“This year, as we do every year, we worked with the tours to establish the weighting for prize money increases round by round, and we pushed to reward players competing early in the tournament in both singles and doubles.

“We strongly believe in growing prize money at all levels of the game and we will continue to work with the playing group to create viable career paths in the sport and enable more players to make more money.”

The tournament begins on 20 January.

Meanwhile, The Kooyong Classic organisers are trying to lure Great Britain’s Andy Murray to the event next month.

Murray, 32, has made five appearances at the popular Australian exhibition so far in his career.

The former world No. 1 is scheduled to start his season at the ATP Cup. The Briton, who made his Kooyong debut in 2007, hasn’t played at the event since 2014.

Kooyong Tournament Director Peter Johnston has been in discussion with Murray’s management and he hopes the Brit will sign up to play the event.