Prize pool for Australian Open swells to $21.3 mln

MELBOURNE: The men's and women's winners of the Australian Open will each take home a record 2.1 million dollars (1.86 million US), officials said Tuesday.

Overall prize money had grown by 4.12 percent to 24,094,000 dollars, Tennis Australia said.

The 2010 Australian Open is likely to host a number of Grand Slam comebacks, including that of former No.1 Justine Henin who announced last month she is ending a 15-month retirement.

Fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, who last month won the US Open, just five weeks after ending a 27-month long retirement during which she married and had a baby girl, is also expected to travel Down Under for the January event.

"So much has changed on the international tennis landscape," tournament director Craig Tiley said. "I think the respective title races will be more open than they have been in years.

"Del Potro's win in New York has blown the men's event wide open and Clijsters' effort, combined with Henin's comeback, has had a similar effect on the women's."

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro defeated world No.1 Roger Federer to win the US Open in September.