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Australian Open announces increase in prize money

Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Victoria Azarenka defeated Li Na in the women's final of the Australian Open in 2013.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- The Australian Open is increasing its prize money by $2.8 million to bring overall player compensation to $31 million next year.

Australian Open organizers did not break down the prize money awarded per round at their launch Wednesday for the tournament Jan. 13-26, but men and women will receive equal amounts as in previous years.

In keeping with player demands to see a larger slice of Grand Slam revenues, all four of the sport's major tournaments have greatly increased their prize money in the past two years.

Wimbledon now offers about $36.5 million, while the U.S. Open increased its purse to $34.3 million and the French Open went up to $29.7 million.

Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka are the defending champions at Melbourne Park. Tournament director Craig Tiley said Wednesday at the official launch for the Jan. 13-26 tournament that he expects the top 100 ranked men and women to play.

Organizers also said that Margaret Court Arena, the third-largest spectator court, will have a fixed roof in place for the 2014 tournament and it will be fully retractable in time for the 2015 event.

Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena at Melbourne Park already have retractable roofs.

Pete Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam winner, will return to Melbourne in January for ceremonies to mark the first of his two Australian Open titles 20 years ago.

Earlier Wednesday, Tiley confirmed that Australian player Bernard Tomic's father will be banned from next year's Australian Open following his conviction for assaulting Tomic's hitting partner Thomas Drouet.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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