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French Open: Jamie Murray criticises prize money cuts & brands hotel ‘absolute toilet’

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jamie murray and bruno soares
Jamie Murray (left) and Bruno Soares have won two Grand Slam doubles titles together
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 30 May-13 June
Coverage: Selected radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website, plus daily reports and analysis

Britain’s Jamie Murray has strongly criticised French Open organisers over prize money cuts and conditions.

The Scot questioned their attitude,external-link saying that “on top of twice moving their event dates to suit themselves” they had continued that mentality by cutting doubles prize money by 23%.

He also branded the official hotel for doubles players “absolute toilet”.

Murray, 35, is set to play in the doubles with Brazilian Bruno Soares at the Grand Slam, which starts on Sunday.

The French Open has been pushed back by a week, with organisers saying they had done this to be able to host bigger crowds to fit in with a government timetable of the easing of lockdown.

Last year’s event was moved from May to September because of the coronavirus pandemic, a unilateral decision that caused jaws to drop in the sport with Murray among the critics. external-link

Total prize money at this year’s French Open is about 10% lower than last year, with doubles prize money decreasing by 23%. Some singles prize money in the early rounds is unchanged.

Former British number one Greg Rusedski said the decrease was “simply [the] theory of supply and demand” when “we know that the French Tennis Federation lost millions last year holding the event and will again lose millions due to the pandemic”.

“If doubles players can prove that TV rights deals, sponsors and the limited fans who have access are coming in for doubles then argue the case with the numbers, percentages and facts,” he tweeted. external-link

“Obviously the organisers must have thought about this with regards to prize money distribution.”

When announcing their prize fund this year, the French Tennis Federation said: “Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam tournament to have been affected by the health crisis for the second year running.

“Despite this, the overall prize fund will be almost the same as in 2020. Roland Garros will continue to support those players most affected by the health crisis including, first and second-round losers and wheelchair tennis participants.”

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