Australian Open Prize Money (A Timeline) 2023

The 111th edition of the Australian Open which took place in 2023 saw the total prize money on offer top $76.5 million AUD ($51 million USD). This saw the men’ champion Novak Djokovic and the women’s champion Aryna Sabalenka pocket a staggering A$2.975 million (USD$1.98).

However, the Australian Open had to start somewhere and it has grown in popularity over time.

So, let’s take a closer look at what makes the so-called ‘happy slam’ so popular with the best tennis players in the world.

The Uniqueness Of The Australian Open

The Australian Open is one of the four major tennis tournaments in the ATP and WTA calendar. The Aussie Open as it is sometimes known, dates back to 1905 and is, therefore, the youngest grand slam of the four. 

Held in Melbourne Australia, the tournament is played on medium pace hard courts, and has been dominated by an incredible hard courter and one of the greatest players of all time, Novak Djokovic

The Australian Open is the first grand slam tournament of the year and it is a great testing ground to see who has been putting in the hard yards in the short off-season for professional tennis players. 

Melbourne Park hosts one of the tournaments most favored by the best players in the world, for its incredible organization, friendly and helpful staff, and generally relaxed vibe.

Australian Open Prize Money – The Early Years 

The first Australian Open was contested back in 1905 where there wasn’t a great deal of prize money to shout about! 

The Australian Open started off as quite a niche event, given the remoteness of the location and the difficulty that many overseas players found in actually getting to Australia. Of course, the great Rod Laver had been a rampant force in the world of Australian tennis and won the Australian Open 3 times himself. 

The Australian Open has always struggled with prevailing weather, which has impacted tournament dates and historically made it difficult for organizers to keep play on track. 

However, it was not until the early 1980s that some of the most high-profile tennis players started to grace the Australian shores. Big names like Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe played which brought more popularity to the event. 

As far as prize money goes, there have not been any major figures to speak of until the open era, where prize money pots have become more generous. However, the 1970 Australian Open men’s and women’s winners took home A$3,400 and $700 respectively.

Consistent Growth 

As transport over to Australia has become more accessible and affordable over the past few decades, so too has the popularity of the event on a global stage. 

This has meant bigger prize purses for the best players in the world, which has tempted the majority of the highest-ranked players to make the trip down under early in the year. 

Prize money at the Australian Open has grown consistently over the years. Here are some of the standout prize pot increases: 

  • 1975 A$50,000
  • 1985 A$80,000
  • 1995 A$2.6 million
  • 2005 A$19 million
  • 2015 A$ 40 million.

Gender Parity at the Australian Open

Gender equality and equal prize money have been at the forefront of people’s minds in the tennis world for a number of years. The gender pay parity movement was championed by Billie Jean King in the 1970s, which made a huge push towards all four grand slams eventually offering equal prize money to both men and women in all rounds of the tournaments. 

As far as the Australian Open goes, strides were made to offer men and women equal prize money in the 1980s and 1990s, but it was not until 2001 that the official commitment was made for equal prize money across the draw.

The Future of Australian Open Prize Money

The hit Netflix series BreakPoint featured a number of episodes at the Australian Open, which will certainly raise the profile of the event in years to come. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Aussie Open in recent years due to their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this should only turn into more eyeballs on the event in years to come. 

Over the past couple of decades, prize money at the Australian Open has grown pretty steadily, meaning that further gradual increases in prize money should be sustainable in years to come. 

This increase in popularity plays a major role in making the life of a professional tennis player more financially viable, even in the lower echelons of the rankings.

How Australian Open Prize Money is Supporting the Wider Game

The Australian Open has served as a fantastic hotbed for humanitarian efforts that have helped support the citizens of Australia. Many charity matches have taken place at the Australian Open, including rallies for relief and plays for peace. 

The popularity of the Australian Open also helps to raise funding and encourages millions of budding Aussie kids to pick up a racket and take part in tennis from a young age. There is a lot to be said about the Australian legends that have graced the game and how they have put the country on the map as a tennis powerhouse.

Australian Open Prize Money – A Lucrative Start to the Season

The Australian Open has gained a reputation for being one of the most well-loved events on the ATP and WTA tours. In the early years of the tournament, the lack of transport to Australia limited the popularity and accessibility of the tournament for many international players, which narrowed its exposure on the global stage. 

However, in recent years the Australian Open has grown in popularity and become a very lucrative event, making it well worth the best players in the world going down under to compete.

If you’d like to see how the Australian Open fares against other Grand Slam events, check out these articles:

Explore more