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Aussie Open boosts prize money, aims to lure China fans

The Australian Open’s prize money will swell 10 percent to Aus 36.3 million (USD 31.7 million) next year, organisers said on Tuesday as they launched the 2015 tournament with plans to attract more fans in Asia.

Winners of both the men’s and women’s singles Grand Slam final will take home Aus 3.0 million, Tennis Australia said.

‘We are determined to continually push ourselves to new heights in terms of facilities, service and the overall experience for players and fans,’ chief executive Craig Tiley said.

Unveiling the refurbished Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, which now has three-retractable roof stadiums -- the most of any Grand Slam venue according to organisers -- officials said they were hoping to engage the rapidly increasing tennis audience in Asia.

‘For the past few years we’ve taken the Australian Open trophies through China and Asia as an exercise to build awareness of the event and the sport,’ Tennis Australia’s commercial director Richard Heaselgrave said.

‘We’ve deliberately narrowed our immediate focus to the major cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen and plan to build strategic opportunities for engagement, both with the growing fan base for tennis in the region, and commercial and corporate partners.’
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