Prize money up at U. S. Open

THE total U.S. Open prize money is rising more than $550,000 from last year to at least $17.74 million, and the men's and women's singles champions will each get a record $1.1 million.

The overall payout for singles players will increase 4.6 percent, the U.S. Tennis Association announced.

In 2004, the singles champions each received $1 million of the total $17.17 million, a figure that includes per diems given to players but doesn't include the roughly $500,000 fees given to the ATP and WTA tours.

The total prize money could eventually top $20 million, because the top three men and women in the summer circuit U.S. Open Series will receive bonuses. The No. 1 performers in the U.S. Open Series — involving American ATP and WTA events leading up to the Open — will double their Grand Slam prize money, so if they win the Aug. 29-Sept. 11 Grand Slam, they'll earn $2.2 million. Last year, $459,000 in U.S. Open Series bonuses were distributed.