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Equal Prize Money at Aussie Open

October 11, 2000

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Men and women will receive equal prize money at next year’s Australian Open in January.

Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard on Wednesday said players will compete for a tournament record prize pool of $7.5 million, an 11.5 percent increase on this year’s total.

The men’s prize money has been increased by 10 percent and the women’s by 15.8 percent. Winners of the men’s and women’s singles crowns will now each earn $450,000.

``This is great for women’s tennis,″ said Martina Hingis, the world’s top-ranked player.

``We have all been working on achieving equal prize money for a while and it is great that at the turn of the century, progress has been made. It is something we deserve and I appreciate that the Australian Open has done this.″

Equal prize money has been a goal of the women for several years. Until now, only the U.S. Open among the four Grand Slam tournaments has paid equal prize money.

``I think it’s great. Women’s tennis has certainly proven that it is worth it,″ Lindsay Davenport said.

The disparity is unfair, WTA Tour chief executive officer Bart McGuire said at Wimbledon last year.

``Women have been paid less than men for centuries in most occupations and that is not something to be proud to follow,″ McGuire said.

``The Grand Slam is an almost unique product. You have the power, the finesse, elegance, beauty, grace, stoicism and emotion, and the women are just as much part of it as the men.″

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