Are you looking for more information on the US Open prize money for this year’s tennis competition? The US Open tennis tournament sees a wide variety of competition including the men’s and women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles, juniors and wheelchair tournaments and all information on how much do players earn in this tournament can be found below.
The US Open is the last and the fourth Grand Slam of the tennis calendar. It started way back in 1881 and is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. It was known as the US National Championships. It started as a men’s only events and introduced categories for women’s from sixth edition onward.
Currently, the US Open is played on its famous blue acrylic hard courts. Famously known and patented as the “US Open Blue”. But that wasn’t always the case.
The first 93 editions of the tournament (Till 1974) was played on the grass courts. For the next three years between 1975 to 1977, the tournament was held on clay courts. Finally, since 1978 it has been held on the hard courts.
When did the US Open First Award Players any Prize Money?
When the open era began in 1968, the total prize money for the US Open was set at USD 100,000. Arthur Ashe, the first winner of the tournament that year in the men’s singles was due to take home USD 14,000 from that.
But since he was still amateur, he could only take home USD 20 per day as allowance. The women’s singles champion, Virginia Wade got USD 6000 as the prize that year.
Equal Pay at US Open & the tag of “the Richest Grand Slam”
The US Open was well ahead of all the other three slams in paying out equal prize money to men’s and women’s players.
From 1973 onward, the winners of both the genders received equal pay. A full 28 years ahead of the Australian Open, who became the second Grand Slam to pay equally in 2001.
The US Open has historically had the highest prize money among all the Grand Slams. And it became the first slam to pay six-figure prize money (USD 120,000 in 1983) and seven-figure prize money (USD 1,000,000 in 2003). Thus it received a nickname of being the richest Grand Slam in the sport.
In fact, even in more recent times with a very high base prize money, some of the highest percentage jump in prize money has been seen at the US Open. Between 2012 and 2017, US Open increased the prize money from about $25 million to $50.4 million, more than doubling in a span of a mere five years.
The 2019 edition of the US Open had a prize money of $57 million while in 2020, following the pandemic, the total prize money was brought down to $53.6 million. Of this, $7.6 was used to help players whose earnings had been affected because of the pandemic.
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A Tough Place for Early Round Losers
Despite being the highest paying Grand Slams for its winner as well as having the biggest prize purse, the US Open has been often been criticized for not paying the early-round losers enough money. It often ranked the lowest paying Grand Slam for players losing in the first and second rounds of the competition.
Unlike all the other Grand Slams, the growth rate for the increase in the prize money for the winner and the runner up has been higher than players playing in the first and second rounds.
For example, from 2005 to 2014, the prize money for players going out in the first two rounds increased 138% and 141% respectively. On the other hand, the growth in the prize money for the runners up and the winners at the same time was 163% and 172%.
But the organizers have been actively trying to do more for the early round losers in the last few years. Since 2015 the prize money for the first round losers has increased by 47%. The same for a player reaching the second round has grown by 46%.
At present, it is only behind the French Open in terms of the amount paid to the qualifying rounds and opening round players.
In 2019, players losing in the first qualifying round got USD 11,000 whereas the prize money for reaching the main draw first round is USD 57,000. This changed to $61,000 for the first round entrants in 2020 with the winner and runner-up of the singles events awarded USD 3 million and USD 1.5 million respectively.
There were no qualifiers held at the 2020 US Open because of the pandemic. The below qualifying earnings are from 2019 while the rest of the table represents earnings from 2020.
|Men's & Women's Singles (2020)||Prize Money USD
|Q1 (2019)|| 11,000
|Q2 (2019)|| 18,000
|Q3 (2019)|| 32,000
|Round 1|| 61,000
In 2010, first-round losing teams at the US Open doubles were paid USD 17,000 but the number of teams were halved and the first round losers paid USD 30,000. The winner and runner-up of the men’s and women’s doubles events earn USD 400,000 and USD 240,000 respectively.
|Men's & Women's Doubles (Per Team)|| Prize Money USD
|Round 1 (2019)||17,000
|Round 3|| 50,000
The 2019 mixed doubles competition at the US Open had the first-round losers earn USD 5,900 while the losing quarterfinalist, semifinalists and finalist take home USD 19,975, USD 38,000 and USD 76,000 respectively. The winner of the mixed doubles competition earns USD 160,000. The mixed doubles event wasn’t held in 2020.
|Mixed Doubles (Per Team)|| Prize Money USD
|Round 2|| 11,400
|Runner Up|| 76,000
A daily allowance is also afforded to all the players which came to about $2 million in total in 2020.