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U.S. Open chiefs bow to player pressure

December 14, 2012 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the 2012 U.S. Open women's singles final on Sunday, September 9, in New York. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/28/worldsport/gallery/us-open-tennis/index.html'>See more U.S. Open action here</a>. Serena Williams of the United States celebrates defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the 2012 U.S. Open women's singles final on Sunday, September 9, in New York. See more U.S. Open action here.
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2012 U.S. Open women's final
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An extra $4 million will be on offer for the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament
  • Organizers have also agreed to schedule a day of rest between finals and semis
  • Defending champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams welcome the changes
  • There will be a record $29.5 million in prize money -- a 34% increase since 2011

(CNN) -- Record prize money and an extra rest day for finalists -- U.S. Open tennis chiefs have taken note of player complaints and made significant changes for 2013.

The tournament's women's final will now be held on a Sunday and the men's title match on a Monday, while the total prize purse will increase by $4 million.

"I'm pleased that the USTA has modified the U.S. Open schedule to include a day of rest between the semifinals and final," defending men's champion Andy Murray said on the New York grand slam's website.

"Together with the prize money increase, it's good that they've taken on board the players' concerns."

Record Australian Open prize money heads off player unrest

Women's champion Serena Williams was also happy with the changes, which mean the female players will play their last-four matches in Friday's afternoon session.

Andy Murray of Great Britain kisses the U.S. Open championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match on Day 15 of the 2012 U.S. Open on Monday, September 10. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. Check out images from the Women's U.S. Open Final. Andy Murray of Great Britain kisses the U.S. Open championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match on Day 15 of the 2012 U.S. Open on Monday, September 10. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. Check out images from the Women's U.S. Open Final.
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Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over David Ferrer of Spain in the men's singles semifinal match at the 2012 U.S. Open on Sunday, September 9. The tournament, the last grand slam event of the year, continues through Monday in Queens, New York. Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over David Ferrer of Spain in the men's singles semifinal match at the 2012 U.S. Open on Sunday, September 9. The tournament, the last grand slam event of the year, continues through Monday in Queens, New York.
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Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Novak Djokovic of Serbia will be hoping to defend their Wimbledon titles in July -- earning a 4.5% increase in prize money if they do. Singles champions will now receive £1.15 millon ($1.85 million). <br/><br/> Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Novak Djokovic of Serbia will be hoping to defend their Wimbledon titles in July -- earning a 4.5% increase in prize money if they do. Singles champions will now receive £1.15 millon ($1.85 million).

Wimbledon champions - £1.15 million
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"Both the prize money increase and the addition of a day of rest are great for the players," the American said. "These moves make the tournament stronger than it's ever been for all players."

Previously the finals had been held the day after the semis, prompting criticism that the schedule favored players seeded in one half of the draw who get an extra 24 hours' recovery time.

How 'Big Four' earned a pay rise for tennis colleagues

The men's final has actually been played on a Monday for the past four years due to weather disruptions earlier in the tournament, which has affected players who have been involved in the Davis Cup teams final the following weekend.

The new schedule means that there will be no evening session on the second Saturday of the two-week tournament.

"We recognize the increased physicality required to compete at the highest level of the sport, and we have responded to the players' request for a scheduled day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals," said USTA president Jon Vegosen.

"The record increase in U.S. Open prize money and the changes in the next year's schedule are aimed at rewarding the players' talents and accommodating the rigors of the modern professional game."

How tennis aced austerity

The USTA increased the base prize money by $2 million this year, and the 2013 doubling of that figure will mean a 34% increase since 2011.

There will be a total $29.5 million on offer, plus a bonus pool of $2.6 million based on results in the seven-week North American swing of men's and women's hard-court tournaments leading up to the season's closing grand slam at Flushing Meadows.

Players have been pressing for a better distribution of prize money among the players knocked out in the early rounds of the four grand slams, and the USTA said it is in talks with them about how best to do this.

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