The 2005 US Open will be the 125th edition of the U.S. Championships since the event was first played in Newport, R.I., and could prove to be the most exciting and financially rewarding experience in the history of the sport.
Beginning this year, the US Open could put a player in position to win a record $2 million - the largest payout in the history of the sport. By virtue of winning the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, one man and one woman will be put in position to double their US Open prize money, which could lead to the US Open men's and women's singles champions' paycheck of $1 million being multiplied by two.
The US Open Series
The US Open Series, launched in 2004, links the 10 major men's and women's summer tournaments to the US Open, creating a cohesive summer hard court season. The US Open Series Bonus Challenge directly links players' performances at US Open Series events with their earnings at the US Open. In 2005, the men's and women's winners of the US Open Series will compete for double prize money at the US Open - a 100 percent increase from last year - with a potential to now earn $2,000,000 at the US Open. Second place and third place finishers will also earn additional prize money.
In 2004, the US Open Series Bonus Challenge offered up to $1.3 million in US Open bonus prize money to the top three men’s and women’s finishers in the US Open Series. Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt were the inaugural winners of the 2004 US Open Series. By virtue of reaching the men's singles final at the 2004 US Open, Hewitt increased his runner-up paycheck of $500,000 an extra $250,000.
Davenport's 2004 US Open semifinal paycheck of $260,000 was increased 50 percent to $390,000. The potential $2 million pay day at the 2005 US Open would equal the record first prize payout at the Grand Slam Cup tournament in Munich, Germany in the 1990s.
The record breaking payouts for the US Open champions is a far cry from when the tournament began 125 years ago in 1881 on the storied lawns of The Casino in Newport, R.I. In the 125th year of the Championships, the tournament has grown from a 24-man tournament played over four days in front of a handful of fans and earning a post-event profit of $4.32 in 1881 to the international sporting spectacle of today with approximately 500 competitors, broadcast and covered in over 200 countries around the world, attended by over 600,000 fans - the highest annually attended sporting event in the world - and bringing in over $420 million in economical impact into the New York City metropolitan area.
Read the 2005 US Open & US Open Series Preview, Part 2