Sony Open notebook

U.S. Open prize money gets a boost from United States Tennis Association


Special to The Miami Herald

The United States Tennis Association announced that the U.S. Open prize money will be significantly increased in the coming years.

Overall, the money will increase by $50 million by 2017.

This year, the U.S. Open base prize money will be raised by $4.1 million above the previously announced 2013 amount. In 2012, the U.S. Open handed out $25.5 million in prize money. This year, the base prize money will be $33.6 million.

The change can be attributed to a united front by players who have been arguing that without the players there wouldn’t be any U.S. Open, so the players deserve a bigger cut of the profits.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic welcomed the USTA’s announcement on Tuesday.

“We have been talking with them for quite a while now, and it’s a positive step to see the prize money increase,” Djokovic said. “It’s a good response, and it’s a reaction from U.S. Open toward the players’ demands and desires.”

The USTA also revealed that following the next two U.S. Opens, which will feature a Monday night men’s final that stretches the tournament to 15 days instead of 14, the U.S. Open will step into line with the other Grand Slams. The other three majors hold the women’s semifinals on Thursday and final on Saturday, and the men’s semifinal on Friday and final on Sunday.

“To be honest, me personally, I am not happy with a Monday final,” Djokovic said. “But it is the way it is for next two years. I think we have to accept it, and then after that, it all goes back to normal, hopefully, for Sunday final like every Grand Slam has.”

Hewitt Not Ready To Call It Quits

Tennis is so much a part of former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt’s life that despite recent years of injuries – and surgeries – the 32-year-old Australian still wants to play.

A wild-card recipient into the Sony Open where he has been a three-time semifinalist, the 91st-ranked Hewitt played his first match at the tournament since 2009 on Wednesday. And the first-round result went in his favor as he defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).

Hewitt’s list of ailments reads like a thick medical file: left-hip surgery in 2008, right-hand injury in 2010, left-foot surgery in 2011, and left-toe surgery in 2012.

“When you’re out injured and just had surgery and rehab, feels like a long way away to getting back out there and playing the big tournaments again,” Hewitt said. “You know, for me, if you miss it when you are doing rehab and getting back, then you obviously know your motivation is still there.”

The Greats Aren’t Great At Everything

When someone is the best in the world at something, could there possibly be anything else they would like to do better?

The answer is apparently yes if the two current No. 1s — Serena Williams and Djokovic — are telling the truth.

According to Williams, one might need earplugs if she suddenly gets the urge to sing.

“I would love to sing really well,” she said. “I think if I could sing, I would just be a star. But I don’t sing great. I don’t sing bad, but I don’t sing great.

“I’m a karaoke singer. That’s as far as I go.”

As for Djokovic, his outside interests remain in sports, as well as the kitchen.

“I love all the sports, so I would love to play golf and basketball a little bit better,” Djokovic said. “Even though I love cooking, I think I’m not so good at it. So I think I have to improve there.”

Sounds like Beyoncé, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and chef Gordon Ramsay have nothing to worry about.

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