An Australian Open boycott is still a long way off, according to Andy Murray.
The leading male players have long been unhappy with the percentage of revenue that is paid out in prize money at the grand slams and have increasingly begun to flex their collective muscle, with the prospect of a boycott emerging over the weekend.
Less than 20% of the revenue from the sport’s biggest tournaments currently goes to the players, which is substantially less than in other major sports.
The main issue is not the money paid out to those who reach the latter stages — the winner of the US Open will take home $1.9 million (€1.5 million) — but the rewards for players who lose in the early rounds.
Travel costs and other expenses incurred by players means even those around the top 100 often struggle to do little more than break even, with the trip to Australia in January particularly costly.
The French Open, Wimbledon and US Open all increased their prize money for first-round losers considerably this year, with the Australian Open the lowest at £13,640.
Asked how likely a boycott was, Murray said: “There’s so many things that go into something like that, with lawyers, forming unions, all sorts of different scenarios that need to be thought through first.
“I think right now it’s a long way away, but I don’t know how serious everybody is about it. If in the next month or two months they get everything sorted and ready to go, then I’ll have a better answer at that time.”
Meanwhile it was a slow start for Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe stadium yesterday before she advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
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