Wimbledon targets lower-ranked players in increase
The All England Club has increased the prize money at this
year’s Wimbledon tennis championship by 10 percent, with a majority
of the cash directed to help lower-ranked players.
Although the men’s and women’s singles champions will each
receive a record 1.15 million pounds ($1.85 million), most of the
biggest overall increase since 1993 will go to players who lose in
qualifying or the early rounds.
The overall pot announced Tuesday will be 16.1 million pounds
($26 million), an increase of 1.5 million pounds ($2.4 million)
”Wimbledon continues to be successful and we are delighted to
share that increase with the players,” All England Club Chairman
Philip Brook said. ”At the same time, we appreciate the need to
help players meet the rising costs associated with professional
Players losing before the fourth round of the singles’
competitions will receive an increase of at least 13 percent. Those
who make the fourth round are guaranteed at least 75,000
The increase for the lower-ranked players, some of whom struggle
to cover the costs of training, traveling and competing at major
tournaments, was requested by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger
Federer and Andy Murray in a meeting with championship officials in
Indian Wells, California.
”It doesn’t happen with many sports and credit to them for
doing it,” Brook said. ”It shows that with the top four players
you have people of quality.”
Brook denied that any player had threatened to pull out of the
championship in an effort to force the increase.
Prize money for all rounds increased at the same rate until
2006, when the annual raise for the singles’ champions began to
dramatically outstrip that for early losers.
Djokovic earned 120 percent more for winning the 2011 men’s
title than Goran Ivanisevic a decade earlier.
While the singles champions will earn 4.5 percent more than last
year, a player losing in the first round will take 26 percent more
– 14,500 pounds ($23,400). Losers in the qualifying rounds will
earn 21 percent more and per diem payments will rise from 170
pounds ($274) to 200 pounds ($323) for the main draw.
”We anticipate another financially successful year despite
tough economic conditions and as always it’s important that we
share our success with players in a meaningful way,” Brook
The prize money increase was announced under gray skies in
southwest London, rain falling steadily as it has for much of the
past two weeks.
But the All England Club said it will still be trying to
conserve water at this year’s championship after one of the driest
two-year periods on record has led to some drought restrictions in
the southern part of the country.
Like Twickenham, professional football teams and Lord’s cricket
ground, the All England Club can water its grass as usual so there
will be no impact on the tournament, but it will cut back on things
like the hanging baskets of flowers that are almost as much a part
of the championship as strawberries and cream.
”Wimbledon this year will be a little less colorful than usual
but we do think it’s the right thing to do,” Brook said.
Other changes announced Tuesday include beginning play 30
minutes earlier on courts 2-19 in the hope that an 11:30 a.m. start
cuts down on the number of matches held over by the changeable
A new tournament website can show live action, although it will
be restricted to one game per set per match every hour to avoid
competition with broadcasters ESPN and the BBC.
The BBC has agreed to continue coverage of the event through
2017, taking its partnership with the tournament to 90 years.
Brook said the All England Club is also formulating the details
of a new plan for ground development and championship organization
through 2020. That could include a roof on No. 1 Court similar to
that on Centre Court.
”That doesn’t mean we have decided to do it,” Brook said. ”It
means we will consider it.”