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US Open winners face Sh91.8mn pay cut as virus bites

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NEW YORK, United States, Aug 5 The winners of this year’s US Open singles titles will receive an $850,000-dollar (Sh91.8mn) paycut as the tournament feels the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said Wednesday.

In a statement, the US Open said this year’s event, which is taking place without fans, would have a total compensation of $53.4 (Sh5.8bn) million compared with about $57 million (Sh6.2bn) in 2019.

The winners of the mens’s and women’s singles would receive $3 (Sh323.9mn) million each compared to $3.85 million apiece in 2019.

But players in the first rounds will receive a pay bump in recognition of the financial hardship during a season that has been decimated by COVID-19.

First round players will receive $61,000 (Sh6.6mn) this year, compared to $58,000 (Sh6.3mn) in 2019. Money for the second and third rounds remains unchanged at $100,000 (Sh10.8mn) and $163,000 (Sh17.6mn) respectively.

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The USTA said it will also make available $7.6 million (Sh820.8mn) to provide monetary assistance to players who have seen earning opportunities stymied by tennis’s near-five-month shutdown.

The USTA had previously contributed $1 million (Sh108mn) to the sport’s Player Relief Program, but is now making an additional $6.6 million (Sh712.8mn) available.

The funds will be allocated equally between the WTA and ATP tours, with each organization determining how they will be distributed to players, the USTA said in a statement.

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“We’re proud to be able to offer a player compensation package that maintains nearly 95 percent of the prize pool from 2019,” said Mike Dowse, USTA chief executive and executive director.

“The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time.”

The 2020 US Open gets under way on August 31 before wrapping up on September 13.

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