10/4/12 9:04 PM | Johan Lindahl
It won't likely benefit him directly, but tennis elite Novak Djokovic is pleased with moves now in place to raise the prize money at the upcoming Australian Open by a healthy $4 million.
The majority of the payout is likely to be directed at players who lose in the early rounds of the first major of 2013.
"It's a step forward," said the world No. 2 and top seed at this week's China Open. "They (tennis officials) have clearly shown understanding for players' demands and what the players had to say, so that's really nice to see."
Last January, boycott talk had filled the air at a player meeting in Melbourne over demands that the prize payout at the majors be lifted. The other three raised their offerings in 2012 in fear of player retribution while Australia made the biggest jump of nearly 15 percent when its turn came.
Djokovic, who trails in the global earning table well behind the estimated $55-60 million per year of world No. 1 and brand icon Roger Federer, said that he is hoping for more monetary improvement in 2013 from the other Slams.
"It's not over yet," he said of the prize money struggle. "Obviously there are other Grand Slams that need to react, and we are still in negotiations and we are still doing it behind closed doors." Talks on the next phase of the issue are set for next week in Shanghai at the Masters 1000 event.
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