By David Gold

craig tilley_at_australian_open_2011_launch_04-10-11October 4 - The winner of the men's and women's singles competitions at the 2012 Australian Open will each pocket $2.3 million (£1.5 million/€1.7 million), meaning that the tournament is set to be the most lucrative in the history of Grand Slam tennis.

By comparison, Novak Djokovic claimed $1.8 million (£1.2 million/€1.4 million) and $1.7 million (£1.1 million/€1.3 million) for winning the US Open and Wimbledon titles respectively this year, whilst Rafa Nadal took home $1.6 million (£1 million/€1.2 million) for claiming the French Open.

World number one Djokovic will be looking to defend his Australian Open crown when the 100th edition of the tournament begins on January 16, and should he do so he would also claim a special one off medallion to mark the anniversary.

In the women's side of the draw, local favourite Sam Stosur will be hoping to build on her success at this year's US Open.

Another interesting sub plot at the tournament could be a potential partnership in the mixed doubles between five-time grand slam singles champion Martina Hingis and fellow Swiss Roger Federer, who has a record 16 grand slam titles in his trophy cabinet, with rumours suggesting the duo could be preparing to team up at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In total, $26 million (£17 million/€20 million) will be paid out during the Australian Open, which was officially launched at Melbourne Park on Tuesday morning by Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

Tournament director Craig Tiley (pictured above right at the 2012 Australian Open launch) said that "tennis is incredibly fortunate to have the most charismatic sportsmen in the world engaged in an intriguing power struggle", in reference to the three way tug of war between Djokovic, Nadal and Federer for the top prizes.

novak djokovic_04-10-11
Nadal and Federer are considered two of the greatest players of all time, but last year saw the Serbian Djokovic (pictured) rise above them both with an astonishing run which saw him go 43 games unbeaten before defeat to Federer in the French Open semi final.

"Djokovic has had one of the most successful years ever seen in the sport and Nadal is snapping at his heels," added Tiley.

"You can never discount a great champion like Roger Federer and Andy Murray is desperate to break through at a slam.

"We are so proud of Sam Stosur.

"The importance of her spectacular success at the US Open, winning convincingly over Serena Williams in her own backyard, cannot be underestimated and is a huge boost for the sport in Australia."

It was also confirmed that Hawk-Eye video replay technology would be used on three courts instead of two in 2012.

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