Melbourne Park, 2 October 2013 | Tennis Australia

The richest prize purse in Australian sport is going up another $3 million dollars.

Australian Open 2014 will offer AUD$33 million in prize money having increased an incredible $7 million dollars in the past two years.

When announced last year, the Australian Open 2013 prize pool of AUD$30 million signified the single biggest increase in the history of the sport and led to increased prize money offerings at all majors this year.

“We said it last year and we still believe it … these incredible athletes deserve every cent and we will continue to do everything in our power to make the life of an international professional tennis player more worthwhile. The Slams have led the way, but the entire tennis fraternity still isn’t there yet,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

The most visible change to the event in 2014 will be the new look Margaret Court Arena (MCA).

The scene of many stunning Australian Open battles, MCA is undergoing a massive transformation as part of the Victorian Government’s $366 million redevelopment and will sport a dramatic new look including:

  • a distinctive new roof providing fans with shaded seating areas. The roof will be fixed in an open position for AO 2014 and fully retractable for AO 2015
  • more than 3200 square metres of shade 360 degrees around the MCA concourse level.

Also new for Australian Open 2014:

  • Roger Federer signs up as Ambassador for Kids’ Tennis Day and will join fellow players and Nickelodeon characters at a special Rod Laver Arena show on Saturday 11 January
  • expanded Australian Open Trophy Tour through Asia, with first-time visits to Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong
  • launch of Australia’s largest ever tennis participation drive, the AO Blitz
  • a special recognition of Brad Drewett  and his contribution to the sport
  • Kerry Melville Reid to be inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame
  • a Legends Lunch on the final Saturday to honour Mervyn Rose and celebrate the members of the 1957 Australian Davis Cup team
  • new public steakhouse style restaurant Grass ‘n’ Grain on the River Terrace
  • elegant new contemporary Australian dining option, Zest, overlooking Garden Square
  • major sponsor Kia Motors has extended its long-running sponsorship until 2018
  • associate sponsor Jacob’s Creek has signed on for a further five years
  • international electronics brand Hisense joins the Australian Open as official supplier of TVs, providing more than 1000 on-site during Australian Open 2014
  • Australian Open 2014 ticket pre-sales at historic high levels
  • the official Australian Open online shop, goes live today, launching the new 2014 official licensed products, including popular player towels.
  • retired tennis superstar Pete Sampras  to return to Melbourne 20 years after winning the first of his two Australian Open men’s singles championships.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley is looking forward to the return of Rafael Nadal whose inspirational comeback from injury this year has so far netted him nine titles, including two Grand Slams – Roland Garros and the US Open.

“Rafa has had an incredibly successful year and has to be a major contender to win the Australian Open for the second time,” Tiley said. “It will be tough to get past defending champion Novak Djokovic, always very at home on Rod Laver Arena, and three-time finalist Andy Murray, coming back from injury. And I will never underestimate the formidable talent of Roger Federer.

David Ferrer is itching for a breakthrough major win, along with fan favourite and Australian Open finalist [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, and the likes of [Juan Martin] del Potro, [Stanislas] Wawrinka and [Tomas] Berdych. The next generation of emerging talents such as Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Bernard Tomic is also knocking on the door.

“With two majors this year Serena Williams looks pretty invincible. [Maria] Sharapova will be on the come-back trail and defending champion [Victoria] Azarenka always plays well in Melbourne. Li Na is a hit with the Aussie crowds, and you can’t discount top players like Aga Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Sam Stosur,” Tiley said.

Ticket pre-sales for Australian Open 2014 are at an all-time high. New tour operator partnerships include P&O Cruises, with a first-time cruise from Sydney to Melbourne selling out in record time.

Strong demand for ground passes on the middle weekend has led to a price increase to $49* for Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January, or $90* for both days. Ground Passes for Monday 13 to Wednesday 22 (excluding 18 and 19) remain at $34*, with a family pass available for $90*.

Series tickets for Australian Open 2014 go on sale through Ticketek from 9:00 am on Wednesday 2October to 5:00 pm Monday 7 October (AEDST).

> Purchase Australian Open or AO Series tickets

Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena single session tickets and Australian Open ground passes are on sale from 9:00 am (AEDST) Tuesday 8 October.

Fans are encouraged to pre-purchase and save on Australian Open 2014 tickets. Tournament pricing applies to all tickets purchased from Monday 13 January.

*Based on pre-purchase pricing.