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Aust Open strike wasn't an option: Murray
06:10 AEST Thu Oct 11 2012

US Open champion Andy Murray on Wednesday praised Australian Open organisers for boosting prize money, saying he never viewed a strike at the year's first grand slam as a realistic option.

The organisers of the season-opening major announced last week that the total purse would rise by $4 million to a record $30 million.

It followed reports that players were mulling a boycott of the 2013 Australian Open to try to gain a higher percentage of grand slam revenues for themselves.

Speaking after being handed a walkover into the third round at the Shanghai Masters, the Scot said he hoped the threats had gone away for the time being.

"I think the Australian Open has stepped up really well. They've obviously listened to the players and the ATP and have made a real effort to improve things," said the 25-year-old, the defending champion in Shanghai.

"You know, from my side, I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option.

"From all the players I've spoken to so far, everyone's been very happy with the increases in the prize money and their plan over the next few years, as well. Hopefully that's something we won't need to worry about for a while."

Murray's comments follow more cautious remarks by Roger Federer, with the world No.1 saying on Sunday that he was not sure the cash boost was significant enough to quell player unrest in the long-running row over prize money.

Speaking after a players' meeting on the eve of the Shanghai Masters, Federer welcomed communication between players and the grand slams but said "nothing is clear from this end".

"The question is, are we that extremely happy with the Australian Open? It was nice to see they have made a move. Is it significant enough? I'm not sure. We'll see how things play out in the next nine months," he added.

Serbian world No.2 Novak Djokovic last week welcomed the bigger purse but warned that the fight for a greater share of revenue was not over.

One issue is the pay of lower-ranked players, who often exit in the first round.

While this year they pocketed $20,800 for a first-round defeat in Melbourne, some players struggle to make ends meet during the year as they pay for much of their own expenses and travel.

Without a high profile they are also unable to score lucrative sponsorships.

Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood said officials were seeking further input from the players about a fairer distribution of the prize money.

Australian Open director Craig Tiley said increases would be weighted towards those who lose in the early rounds.


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