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Federer talks pave way for record $50 million U.S. Open prize fund

Roger Federer's triumph at Wimbledon 2012 was the 17th grand slam win of his career.

Story highlights

  • U.S. Open announces a rise in tournament prize money to $50 million from 2017
  • Tournament also hikes prize money for 2013 competition by a record $8.1 million
  • Men's final to revert to Sunday rather than Monday as of 2015
  • Flushing Meadows also to be revamped as part of the five-year agreement
He's enjoyed unprecedented success off the court, now Roger Federer has helped pave the way for some major changes at the U.S Open.
As president of the ATP Player Council, the 17-time grand slam champion, from Switzerland, has helped to negotiated a hike in prize money to $50 million by 2017, nearly double the figure in 2012.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) confirmed the tournament -- the season's final major -- will also rejig its schedule to ensure the men's semifinals are played on Friday with the final reverting to Sunday by 2015.
It marks the culmination of a year's worth of discussions with the game's top players, led by Federer, but also including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
"The [USTA] approached our concerns with a true spirit of partnership, and as president of the ATP Player Council I am personally grateful for their support," five-time U.S. Open winner Roger Federer said in a statement on the tournament's official website.
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"The U.S. Open is very special, and we all look forward to great competition at Flushing Meadows later this year, and in the years yet to come."
Under the terms of the five-year deal with the men's ATP Tour and the women's WTA Tour, the tournament will now have a 2013 prize purse of $33.6 million -- a record $8.1 million increase from 2012.
Grass roots tennis will also see a boost in funding and Flushing Meadows in New York, which hosts the competition, will also be revamped, with a new Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand.
"We welcome the commitment the USTA has made concerning player prize money at the U.S. Open through 2017," said Brad Drewett, ATP executive chairman and president.
"These increases are the largest in the history of the sport, representing a significant step forward in truly recognizing the input the players have in the success of the U.S. Open.
"We also welcome the decision from the USTA to adopt a schedule with the men's semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday, from 2015 onwards."
The USTA announced in December 2012 it was moving the women's final back to Sunday and the men's final to Monday to allow the players more rest time.
Poor weather in recent years has seen the men's final take place on a Monday for the past five years, with some players having to play their semifinal and final on consecutive days.
But though the schedule will remain in place for the next two installments, by 2015 the U.S. Open will come into the line with the other majors and become a 14-day tournament.
"We applaud the USTA's long-term commitment to increased and fair compensation for our athletes," said Stacey Allaster, WTA chairman and CEO.
"For 40 years the USTA has been a leader for equality and for women's tennis, and today's announcement is a testament to their continued bold vision for the sport."
Recently, the game's top male players, like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, called for more stringent drug testing, prompting the International Tennis Federation to announce they were introducing biological profiling into the sport.
"The USTA has a long-term vision in place to ensure that tennis continues to thrive in the United States," said David Haggerty, USTA chairman and president.
"This vision encompasses every level of the sport, from energizing existing fans, to attracting new players, to ensuring the U.S. Open remains one of the world's most prestigious sporting events.
"With this unprecedented commitment to long-term prize money and recognition of the value that players bring to the sport, we will gain stability for the sport so that we can focus our energy on growing the game and ensuring tennis' vitality in the U.S. for years to come."