French Open organisers have announced an eight per cent increase in the total prize money to 42.6 million euros ($48.35 million) and also inaugurated a new court that is the famed Grand Slam tennis tournament’s third-biggest.
Prize money will jump the most for men and women who are ousted in the qualifying stage or who lose in the first round, with the latter now set to earn 46,000 euros ($52,333) apiece, an increase of 15 per cent over last year, on Friday.
The winners of the men’s and women’s singles will each receive 2.3 million euros ($2.6 million), up 4.55 per cent from last year, while the singles finalists will earn 1.18 million euros, an increase of 5.36 per cent.
On Thursday, tournament organisers also inaugurated a new 5,000-seat court that is the first piece of a renovation project launched in 2018 at tennis’ clay-court Grand Slam.
Known as Court Simonne Mathieu, it is named after a star French player of the 1920s and 1930s who won two Roland Garros women’s singles titles (when the tournament was known as the French Championships). Mathieu (1908-1980) also was a runner-up at that tournament on six occasions and became a French resistance fighter during World War II.
The new court is the third-biggest at Stade Roland Garros after Court Philippe Chatrier (the main stadium) and Court Suzanne Lenglen.