Jaw-dropping prize money in new Aus tennis tournament

    In a move which has convinced 20 of the world’s top 20 men or women to compete for their countries in the inaugural mixed gender teams event starting on Thursday, guaranteed appearance fees across the field has set the tone for the launch of the Australian summer of tennis.The nine players currently ranked in the top 10 will each receive $US200,000 just for turning up to play their two Group matches, while players ranked 11-20 each pocket $US100,000.Prize money is earned for every match won and the significant cash windfall is a fact not lost on the world’s best as they prepare to start on Thursday.Italy’s world No.16 Matteo Berrettini led his team around the Brisbane River on Tuesday but noted the reactions of his teammates when asked about the lure of the $15m event.“Everybody smiled when you said that, see, so it’s good,” Berrettini said.“Obviously we don’t just play for the money but it’s important that it’s there.”While it’s not uncommon for the world’s leading players to get paid additional appearance fees at tournaments, it’s not often a feature for every player with even those ranked outside the top 250 guaranteed up to $US20,000 and a match win during the tournament worth $US38,325.The Australian Open in Melbourne is the richest sporting event in Australia with a first round appearance worth $US103,000, while elimination in round two is valued at $US154,000.While the money is astronomical, the players are equally excited by the mixed gender teams novelty of the event while trying to build form ahead of the grand slam.“I’ve never even played mixed doubles so it’s going to be exciting,” Berrettini said.“I’m curious about it and it’s a really cool format.”Berrettini is coming off a mixed 2022, he missed Wimbledon with injury and suffered a semi-final defeat to eventual champ Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.The 26-year-old feels he’s closing the gap to the likes of Nadal and Novak Djokovic and is building towards an eventual slam breakthrough.“I was close but I never won, they’re the best to ever play,” he said.“I feel super-honoured to play against them, especially Novak here has a crazy record and I feel lucky to play against them and hopefully next time I play I’m going to win.“I’m feeling confident, I’m playing more and more and having longer runs in slams so hopefully soon something good is going to happen.”

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