Britain’s Jamie Murray has questioned what more doubles tennis players can give up after hitting out at French Open organisers over prize money.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion over men’s and mixed doubles partnered Brazil’s Bruno Soares to move into round two at Roland Garros on Tuesday with a three set win over fellow Brits Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot.
Due to the impact of coronavirus, players in general will take a prize money cut in Paris this year, down over 10.5% from last year’s event - but in the men’s and women’s doubles, the pot has been reduced by 23%.
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Murray says it is unfair that he would need to reach the final of the tournament just to guarantee he takes home the same amount as a first round singles’ loser (just over £51,000) once he has taken his share with Soares (winners share approx. £226,000 and runners-up £133,000).
"I think it's really sh***y, to be honest," Murray said of the French Tennis Federation.
It's the first time I think ever that the Grand Slams have gone away from the distribution of prize money, which I think sets a dangerous precedent for the doubles game.
"We're already coming to these tournaments and the ratio is like 88-12 (percentage in favour of singles to doubles), 89-11, 90-10. What more can we give up?
"Now I'm playing this tournament and I've got to win five matches to get to a Grand Slam final playing against the best players in the world in order to make the same as a guy who comes and loses in the first round of the singles.
"I don't think that's right. I'll never think that's right. I think the French Tennis Federation need to know that that's not right."
Murray’s anger follows on from a tirade on Twitter before the tournament, where he also criticised the state of the mandatory hotels all players need to stay in to keep the event Covid-safe, when he described his accommodation as “absolute toilet” - his opinion has not changed.
"If this was normal times and you could choose your hotel, no-one's staying at that hotel. I get that you can't stay at the Ritz with 500 people but, for me, it's not a great set-up."
Murray will have to do the same when Wimbledon starts on June 27, even though he lives close to the All England Club. Instead of being able to enjoy his own bed every night, he will be forced to stay in the same hotels as everyone else competing at his home tournament - but he does not understand why that needs to be the case.
"I'll be fully vaccinated by then," he said.
Where's the pay-off for getting vaccinated? I don't see it. But I also don't see it for the country in a way, because it's like, 'You have to get vaccinated, you have to get vaccinated, you have to get vaccinated, the country needs you to do it'.
"So why aren't these people rewarded by being allowed to go to Wimbledon? And not even just for Wimbledon, all the events in the summer, concerts, the Euros - let's see Scotland against England with a full house."
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Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title at his favourite event and 2020 Roland Garros sensation Iga Swiatek aiming to replicate her stunning triumph in Paris.
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