| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 5-18, 2012 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will become the first ATP World Tour and WTA combined tennis tournament to award its men’s and women’s singles champions each $1 million in prize money.

"The BNP Paribas Open has been raising the bar for the sport over the course of the past four decades, and today's $1 million winners' prize money announcement represents yet another historic milestone,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA chairman and CEO. “The BNP Paribas Open is one of the cornerstone events in professional tennis exactly because of this attention to players and willingness to innovate and push the boundaries of success."

The BNP Paribas Open, in its continued effort to be the largest event on the WTA and ATP World Tour, will increase its total prize money commitment for the 2012 tournament to more than $11 million. In addition to the $1 million being awarded to both the men’s and women’s singles champions, the singles finalists, semifinalists and quarterfinalists will now earn $500,000, $200,000 and $100,000 respectively, and prize money has been increased for all rounds of the tournament.

"The ATP World Tour is stronger than ever—both on the court and in terms of our business," said Adam Helfant, ATP executive chairman and president. "It's fantastic that the BNP Paribas Open, one of the biggest and most important events on the Tour, is taking the lead in recognizing the players in this way for the tremendous interest and value they continue to drive into the sport."

Just three years ago, for the 2009 tournament, the BNP Paribas Open granted equal prize money to both men and women, while increasing the total prize money purse by more than $3 million. In less than five years, the tournament has nearly doubled the total prize money offered to players (2008–$5.835 Million, 2012–$11.073 Million).