Grand Slams have been increasing the prize money year after year, including the French Open. The Tournament Director Guy Forget feels proud about it. Speaking to GQ, Forget said: "We are the Grand Slam tournament where the difference between the first round loser and winner is the most little.
For five or six years, the focus was put on the first rounds and qualies. Because those are the players who struggle to finish the season. A world No. 150, once he pays his team, hotels, taxes, air flights, just breaks the even in the end of the year.
That's not normal for his level. Unlike golf, the Grand Slams and big tournaments are always won by the same people. There were some seasons where Federer, Murray, Nadal and Djokovic shared the 75-80 per cent of the total yearly prize money."
He also said, "It's crazy. So we focus on the lower ranked guys who have more or less one sponsor's contract. Over the last years, we committed around €400 million for the French Open. Without any help. Unlike the Australian Open who has received $900 million over the last ten years.
So we have weapons to develop, we get in debt to do it, but we are a company that needs to make money to pay its own work, players, help the tennis Championships in France. So it's normal that our brands' partners want to follow us in our journey and that they want to help us somewhere to finance this job.
Many companies want to join our event. We are happy that Rolex joins us, that Lacoste is making the next step investing more on our project. And then the BNP Paribas who has the same visions as Philippe Chatrier."