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Australian Open increases Champions purse to $2.3 million

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novak_djokovic2Australian Open 2012 is set to offer the highest prize money in the history of Grand Slam tennis. The total prize pool will be $26 million, with the men's and women's champions taking home a record $2.3 million each.

Australian Open 2012 was officially launched at Melbourne Park this morning by the Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu who also announced the historic tournament trophies, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy, will head to China for the first ever international leg of the Australian Open Trophy Tour next week.

The men's singles championship will be contested for the 100th time at Australian Open 2012. Since 1905 the men's title has been won by 59 different players. A commemorative coin has been struck to mark the milestone and the 100th champion will also be awarded a unique medal which was unveiled today.

Roy Emerson, the record six-time champion, flew in from the United States to be part of today's event.

"Your home country's championship obviously means a great deal. When I first won the Australian Open in 1961, 50 years ago, I was extremely proud to win," Roy Emerson said today.

"I am very much looking forward to the launch of the Australian Open. When Craig Tiley contacted me, I was very honoured to be invited. It will be a big day for me, I'm happy I was able to make it and I'm looking forward to seeing some of my old friends, it will be terrific."

In other big news organisers announced a women's legends event, and are preparing to welcome three-time Australian Open champion, Martina Hingis, back to Melbourne.

The rise of world No.1 Novak Djokovic since he won at Melbourne Park in 2011, the great rivalries between the big three of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and the emergence of a new Australian Grand Slam tournament champion, Sam Stosur, were all hot topics at the launch.

"Tennis is incredibly fortunate to have the most charismatic sportsmen in the world engaged in an intriguing power struggle," Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

"Djokovic has had one of the most successful years ever seen in the sport and Nadal is snapping at his heels, eager to regain the top spot. You can never discount a great champion like Roger Federer and Andy Murray is desperate to break through at a Slam.

"We are so proud of Sam Stosur. The importance of her spectacular success at the US Open, winning convincingly over Serena Williams in her own backyard, cannot be underestimated and is a huge boost for the sport in Australia.

"Sam and her team have worked so hard and so consistently over a long period of time and Grand Slam success, achieved by only a select few, is a well deserved reward."

Photo courtesy: Australian Open