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Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam serves up record prize money pool

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-10-11 09:32
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley talks to the media during the 2019 Australian Open Official Launch at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, on Oct 9, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

SYDNEY -- A record prize pool, an improved heat stress policy and a 25-second serve clock are some of the major changes coming to the 2019 Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam.

Announced at the launch on Tuesday in Melbourne, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said the new initiatives were a result of feedback from the world's best players.

"We've always prided ourselves on listening to the players, and this year we've taken our consultation to a whole new level," he said.

"Our team has spent a lot of time this year talking to players, coaches and their teams about what's important to them, what they like and what changes they want to see.

"From these discussions, held at tournaments around the world, we've come up with some changes we know the players want, including the serve clock and electronic review on all match courts, making conditions more consistent across the precinct."

With around 750,000 people in attendance for event this year, as well as 1 billion broadcast viewers around the world, Tiley said the serve clock is aimed at speeding up match play in order to increase action for the fans.

Also set to change for summer tournament, is the controversial Extreme Heat Policy which employed a number of complicated metrics to determine when play could be suspended.

Now armed with a new policy known as the Heat Stress Index, organizers say it should make managing dangerously hot conditions which can reach over 45 degrees celsius, much simpler and safer.

As a huge cultural event down under, the Australian Open nets around 270 million Australian (191.34 million US) dollars for the local economy, and in 2019 competitors will now see a larger slice of the pie, with a total of 60.5 million Australian (42.87 million US) dollars on offer in the tournament prize pool.

The Australian Open is set to begin on January 14.

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