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US Open By the Numbers: 50,000,000

The US Open unveiled its prize money on Tuesday, a total figure that will surpass $50 million for the first time in tournament history.


That is an impressive climb from 1968, the first year of Open tennis, when the assembled men and women competed for a total purse of $100,000 Ė and in which the menís winner, Arthur Ashe, collected only a $20 per diem to maintain his amateur status, forgoing the $14,000 championís prize.

The US Open purse was back in the news in 1973, when the tournament first offered equal prize money to men and women, a groundbreaking move that was not emulated by any of the other Grand Slam tournaments until 2001.

From there, the Openís prize money increased annually, topping $1 million for the first time in 1981, $2 million in 1983 and $10 million in 1996. In recent years, the increases have been steadier and more pronounced Ė more than $20 million in 2007, $30 million in 2013 and $40 million in 2015, with last yearís US Open offering in excess of $46 million.

That set the stage for Tuesdayís announcement and the eclipsing of the $50 million mark, with $3.7 million earmarked for the menís and womenís singles champions Ė an estimable check the winners will receive in the namesake stadium of the man who received just $20 so many years ago.

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