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Murray happy about 7% increase in prize money for 2012 French Open

MONACO -- Andy Murray praised the French Open organizers on Sunday for increasing the prize money and hopes other Grand Slams will follow suit.

Roland Garros organizers said last Friday that the overall purse for the tournament is going up by 7 percent to 18.7 million euros (US$24.6 million). The men's and women's singles champions will each receive 1.25 million euros (US$1.64 million), an increase of 4.17 percent.

Proportionately, the biggest increases are for those who are knocked out early. First-round losers will receive a 20 percent rise, from 15,000 euros (US$19,700) to 18,000 euros (US$23,670).

“It's great that the French Open have stepped up,” Murray said after practicing at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he is scheduled to play Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the second round.

The increase follows player complaints in recent months about the way prize money is distributed at grand slam tournaments.

“We've spoken a lot over the last five, six months,” Murray said. “To the guys on the ATP board, the guys at the Grand Slams and at many players' meetings, so it's good that something's starting to get done about it because it was starting to become quite serious.”

Murray thinks Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open should all do likewise.

“I'd be surprised if they didn't, to be honest. They want to be the biggest slam, the biggest tournament on the tennis calendar,” he said. “It would be quite hard to see one tournament doing it, and increasing their prize money significantly, and other ones not wanting to.”

French Open organizers said more than 300 players who lose between the second round of qualifying and the third round of the main draw will have their prize money increased by between 10 and 20 percent.

“Hopefully from 2013 onwards, the prize money will go up for every round,” Murray said. “People were talking about striking or boycotting, a lot of it came from guys ranked between 20 and 100. This is the start, so hopefully it will be throughout the tournament.”

He also defended the right for players going out early in tournaments to earn more money.

“In golf, for example, if you don't make the cut you don't make any money. But in tennis it's a little different,” he said. “In golf, a lot of guys play for 30 years, seniors events (have) very good prize money. Tennis can be, for some guys, a five- or six-year career.”

Former third-ranked Ivan Ljubicic is glad a player strike has been avoided.

“I always thought that talking and discussing and trying to find the solution with the tournaments, ATP and the Grand Slams and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) is the best way to do things,” he said. “That's what I said also after Australian Open this year when the 'strike' word was mentioned. I felt it was totally stupid to even talk about it.”

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