U.S. Open singles champs to get $850K less prize money in 2020

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Despite a loss in revenue from holding its marquee event without spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Tennis Association announced Wednesday that its overall compensation to players at this year’s U.S. Open will be $53.4 million – which is 93.3% of the roughly $57.2 million awarded in 2019.

The U.S. Open women’s and men’s singles champions will each earn $3 million, down $850,000 – or 22% – from the top prizes at the Grand Slam tennis tournament last year, part of a decrease of nearly $4 million in total player compensation in 2020.

Defending U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal said Tuesday he didn’t want to travel during the pandemic and would not be entering the tournament. Also out of the field: Ash Barty, the No. 1-ranked woman.

The U.S. Open is set to start in New York on Aug. 31, as originally scheduled, something rare in the world of sports this year. Professional tennis was suspended in March because of the pandemic, leaving many players, coaches and others without a regular income.

The women’s tour resumed this week in Palermo, Italy. The men’s tour will pick up later this month.

First-round singles prize money at the U.S. Open is going up 5%, from $58,000 to $61,000, the only level where there is a jump. Paychecks for players who reach the second round ($100,000) or third round ($163,000) will remain the same.

The prizes then decrease in each round of singles: from $280,000 to $250,000 in the fourth, from $500,000 to $425,000 in the quarterfinals, from $960,000 to $800,000 in the semifinals, and from $1.9 million to $1.5 million for the runner-up.

In doubles, the cut is deeper: The women’s and men’s championship pairings will split $400,000, a drop of 46% from last year’s $740,000.

This year’s total includes $1 million given to a previously announced player relief program jointly funded by the four Grand Slam tournaments, the International Tennis Federation and the ATP and WTA tours – to help with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – along with $6.6 million to make up for the USTA’s cancellation of its qualifying events and a reduction in size of the doubles fields.

USTA chief executive Mike Dowse said the tournament’s player compensation this year “represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time.”

Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.