Professional squash players are earning more money than ever before, according to figures released today by the sport’s world governing body.
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) says the total level of financial compensation in the top echelons of the game grew by nearly 14 per cent last year.
Since the PSA joined forces with the Women's Squash Association in 2015 to create a unified governing body, the sport is said to have been on an upwards trajectory.
Today's figures show that total compensation in the sport increased 13.8 per cent during 2016, representing an increase of $619,500 (£502,900/€588,000) year-on-year.
As a result, the total prize fund reached $3,756,000 (£3,050,000/€3,567,000) in the Men's Tour and $1,937,000 (£1,573,000/€1,839,000) in the Women's Tour during 2016, representing an annual increase of 12.3 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
In the Women's Tour alone, the growth saw an increase in earnings of 43.6 per cent among the top 10 players, with the top 100 earning 19.3 per cent more than in 2015.
Similar increases in the Men's Tour, with the top 10 earning 17.2 per cent more and the top 100 earning 16.1 per cent more, mean that 2016 was the most lucrative year in the history of professional squash.
"The growth we saw across both the Men’s and Women’s Tours throughout 2016 was been tremendously encouraging and reinforces our belief that the sport is currently moving in the right direction," said PSA chief executive Alex Gough.
"To see such increases in women's earning levels in particular is a huge boost to the sport and takes us another step closer to our ultimate ambition of achieving a position of equality and parity in both playing opportunities and prize money across both genders on the PSA World Tour.
"And with many Olympic-level athletes having their funding cut in recent months and seeing their sporting futures cast into doubt, to know that the level of financial rewards in squash continues to grow and offer more players than ever before the opportunity to earn a living form the sport is something that we must all be proud of.
"However, we cannot rest on our laurels.
"Our long-term ambition is to make professional squash a realistic career choice for as many players as possible and we must continue to improve every aspect of the sport, from our on-court product and broadcast technology through to financial rewards, and we look forward to embarking on the next stage in the journey with our partners throughout 2017 as we continue to drive the sport forward across all areas."
Last year's PSA China Open in Shanghai offered record prize money, making it the biggest tournament ever staged in the country.
A purse of $100,000 (£81,000/€95,000) was up for grabs in the men's tournament with the women playing for a pot of $70,000 (£57,000/€66,000).
Egypt's Mohamed Elshorbagy won the men's title, while England's Laura Massaro claimed the women's crown.
Last month, it was confirmed equal prize money will be paid to male and female squash players for the first time at this year's British Open.
A purse of $150,000 (£122,000/€142,000) will be up for grabs in both the men's and women's draws at the event, which is the oldest squash tournament still running having first been contested in the 1920s.
It became the first squash tournament in Britain to offer financial parity to competitors, with four events on the PSA World Series now on an equal footing.
The other three tournaments are the US Open, the Windy City Open and the Tournament of Champions.
The 2017 British Open is scheduled to take place at the Airco Arena in Hull between March 19 and 26.