The summer is an exciting time for tennis fans, as some of the biggest stars in the game play two of the Grand Slam tournaments within a month of each other. As August turns to September, we have the U.S. Open to look forward to.
This year, some of the best and biggest tennis players in the world will be playing for the title, from Venus and Serena to Federer and Nadal. Both singles' champions from last month's Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber, will be playing as well.
What will they be taking home should any of them win the U.S. Open? The prize money pot increases year after year, helping pad out the net worth of legendary players like Serena Williams and Roger Federer. So, what is winning the U.S. Open worth this year, and what has it been in the past?
How Much Is the U.S. Open Prize Money in 2018?
In total, the U.S. Open has said it plans to award $53 million in winnings to competitors this year.
In the singles' competition for both men and women, the winner will receive $3.8 million, while the runner-up that gets defeated will still go home with $1,850,000. Semifinalists receive $925,000; quarterfinalists get $475,000.
Should a player fail to make any of these, their prize money is as follows:
- $266,000 for making the round of 16
- $156,000 for making the round of 32
- $93,000 for making the round of 64
- $54,000 for making the round of 128
Teams playing in the doubles' competition, on the other hand, receive $700,000 if they're the final team standing, while the runner-up prize is halved at $350,000. Those who made the semifinals will receive $166,400 and quarterfinalists get $85,275. As for the rest:
- $46,500 for making the round of 16
- $27,875 for making the round of 32
- $16,500 for making the round of 64
U.S. Open Prize Money Historic Winnings
The first U.S. Open of the "open era" in tennis occurred in 1968, when the prize money was far, far less. The men's tournament was won by the legendary Arthur Ashe. The prize was $14,000, but because he was still an amateur, he was not eligible for the money. On the women's side, Virginia Wade won for a much lower prize of $6,000.
Several years passed at the U.S. Open before they made the men's and women's prizes equal in 1973. The women's singles' winner that year, Margaret Smith Court, took home $25,000.
That number would continue to grow. By 1982, combined winnings for tennis players at the U.S. Open were over $1 million. The next year, the winner's prize surpassed 6 figures.
By 1993, total prize money was already up to $9 million and by 2000, the prize for a singles' champion alone was $800,000. As that decade came to a close, 2009 saw singles' champs Juan Martin del Potro and Kim Clijsters win $1.6 million.
Last year's winners, Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens, won $3.7 million for their respective victories.
How Much Have Previous Champions Won at the U.S. Open?
With the prize money pool growing each year, what have some of the all-time great tennis players won at the U.S. Open? How much less did the champions of yesteryear make than the champions of today?
Here are some of the best tennis players of the open era, and what they've made for winning the U.S. Open, with prize money info prior to 2012 from ESPN and the Associated Press.
- Perhaps the most impressive tennis player of the open era has been Serena Williams, tied for most open era U.S. Open women's singles' titles with 6. Her victories, having taken place between 1999-2014, show distinctly how much the prize increased over time. These victories in 1999 ($750,000), 2002 ($900,000), 2008 ($1.5 million), 2012 ($1.9 million), 2013 ($2.6 million) and 2014 ($3 million) led to Serena winning approximately $10.65 million from championships alone.
- Serena's sister, Venus Williams, won the U.S. Open in the back-to-back years of 2000-2001. With prizes of $800,000 and $850,000, these victories totaled $1.65 million.
- Serena's U.S. Open titles record for women in the open era tied Chris Evert. Evert's victories came in 1975-78, 1980 and 1982. Decades before the winner's prize topped six figures, Evert's prizes for her titles added up to $262,000.
- In the 2000s, Roger Federer tied a record for most men's singles titles at the U.S. Open in the open era by winning 5 in a row. Federer was the last man standing at the U.S. Open from 2004 to 2008. These five victories resulted in $6.2 million in prize money.
- The men Federer tied for the record of 5 titles were Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. Connors' 5 titles, occurring between 1974 and 1983, made him $300,500. Sampras's titles, won between 1990 and 2002, made him $2.96 million.
- This year's #1 ranked men's singles player, Rafael Nadal, has won 3 U.S. Open titles before: 2010, 2013, and 2017. These 3 alone have netted Nadal $8 million in prize money.