Roger Federer would like to see prize money keep increasing through the mid-rounds of tournaments and on the Challenger tour.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion was asked about the pay difference between the top and lower-ranked players. He said that tournaments should reward the champions, but noted that the gap in earnings has become very large.
"Should be a winner's tour, in my opinion, so the winners should get more," he told reporters in Brisbane, adding that even in the first few rounds, it’s better to give players more for winning matches than increase first-round amounts. "I'm more [in] favor that the second, third round, and all this stuff gets bumped up. I think the tour is doing a conscious effort."
Recent increases in prize money at the Grand Slams concentrated on the first few rounds, in addition to across-the-board increases. The ATP is also increasing prize money at its events, from 14 percent at the Masters to 3-5 percent at 250 events.
Challengers have gone up from a minimum $35,000 (hotel accommodations) to $40,000, and an increase to $50,000 is scheduled. The ITF has announced that its smallest men's pro circuit events will go from $15,000 to $25,000, while the women's is increasing from $10,000 to $15,000.
Federer argued that increases are required at the Challenger level.
"I would like to see the Challenge tour, in particular, also getting a prize money increase," he said. "I know it's tough because you got to work hard in the local market to find sponsors.
"It's got to be a certain minimum, because there are a ton of tournaments. There are a lot, a lot of tournaments out there, so the players can always play."
The world No. 3 has won a record amount in prize money during his career.
"I think we've done well, but we could always do better, of course," he said. "We got to keep going."