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Tennis-French Open prize money up, but still lagging behind

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - Prize-money at this year's French Open will rise by 12 percent, with the lion's share of the increase for early-round losers, but the singles champions will still receive less than at the three other grand slams. The French tennis federation said on Tuesday that the total prize pool at Roland Garros this year had risen to 28.03 million euros ($29.61 million), with 1.8 million euros ($1.90 million)for the singles champions -- a rise of 150,000 euros on 2014. Singles champions at this year's Australian Open received $2.3 million while at Wimbledon last year it was $2.5. Last year's U.S. Open offered $3.0 million for singles champions. Payouts for second and third round losers will rise by around 20 percent, the FFT said in a statement, with those surviving one round pocketing at least 50,000 euros. "Players eliminated in the first week will be the principal beneficiaries," said FFT managing director Gilbert Ysern. Wimbledon, which boasted total prize money of $36 million last year, the same as the U.S. Open, will announce its prize money increases later this month and is expected to continue the trend of raising the money for early-round losers. ($1 = 0.9464 Euros) (Reporting By Brian Love, additional reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)