Indian Wells prize money to rise


A big prize-money increase for next month’s ATP BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has finally been approved.

ATP executives and tournament officials had been at loggerheads over the increase of US$800,000 which had been planned by tournament owner Larry Ellison, one of the world’s richest men.

However, the ATP has now finally accepted the move which will see tournament prize money rise to just over $5million.

The ATP initially blocked the move at the end of last season, saying the money distribution did not follow its rules – the planned increase had been due to go to players reaching the quarter-finals and beyond. There were also fears that a large increase by Indian Wells would demean the other eight Masters 1000 tournaments.

Many players had been angered by the stance, with the ATP being a body set up to represent the players’ interests.

Announcing that an agreement was now in place, ATP executive chairman Brad Drewett said: “Prize money increases are always a positive reflection on the state of our sport, however there are a number of safeguards in place in accordance with ATP rules to ensure that prize money being invested into the sport is distributed in a manner that benefits our players proportionately from one round to another.

“We have worked with tournament organisers over a number of weeks in order to get as close to the ATP prize money distribution rules as possible. We’re pleased to have reached a decision for 2013.”

Drewett added a new rule would be implemented to prevent a repeat of the Indian Wells situation.

American star Mardy Fish welcomed the move, saying on Twitter: “Great that the easiest decision of all-time was finally agreed on! Thanks Larry Ellison and (ATP player representative) Justin Gimelstob (for) getting it done.”

The men’s draw gets under way on March 7, the day after the women’s tournament begins.