Serena Williams of the USA hits to Maria Sharapova of Russia in the first round on day one of the 2019 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Aug 26, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The winners of this year’s US Open singles titles will receive $850,000 less than last year’s champions as the tournament feels the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the US Open said this year’s event, which is taking place without fans, will have a total prize pool of $53.4 million, compared with around $57 million in 2019. The winners of the men’s and women’s singles will receive $3 million each, compared to $3.85 million apiece in 2019.

However, players in the first rounds will receive a pay bump in recognition of financial hardship endured during a season that has been decimated by COVID-19.

First-round players will receive $61,000 this year, compared to $58,000 in 2019. Money for the second and third rounds remains unchanged at $100,000 and $163,000 respectively. The United States Tennis Association said it will also make available $7.6 million to provide monetary assistance to players who have seen earning opportunities stymied by the sport’s near-five-month shutdown.

XINHUA — AGENCIES