Outlining how the grasscourt grand slam's increased 25 million
pounds prize pot will be distributed, the All England Club announced
a 14.9 percent raise for first-round losers in the main draw of the
men's and women's singles.
At the top end this year's singles champions will bank 1.76 million
pounds ($2.9 million), a 10 percent increase on the 1.6 million
pounds Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli earned last year.
That compares favorably with the 1.65 million euros ($2.3 million)
for the singles champions at next month's French Open while
Stanislas Wawrinka and Li Na earned $2.65 million for their wins at
the Australian Open in January.
All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis justified the
increased level of prize money for early-round losers on Tuesday at
the annual news conference ahead of the Championships.
"I slightly take issue with that," Lewis told reporters when
questioned whether the prize money on offer for first-round losers
"They have worked hard to get here for 12 months either through
their world ranking or through qualifying. By being in a main draw
of a grand slam means they are world class players.
"The costs and expenses involved in being a top-100 player are huge
and while they are not pleading poverty they are not making huge
sums of money either for world class athletes."
Since 2011 Wimbledon's annual prize money increases have been
heavily weighted towards the losers in the earlier rounds — a move
designed to placate lower-ranked players who struggle to balance the
books compared to those in the top 10.
This year's increase means first-round prize money has risen by a
massive 135 percent in three years, compared to a 60 percent
increase for the champions.
"We've placed emphasis on the large group of players who need our
help the most, those players who lose in qualifying and in the early
rounds of the championships," Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said.
"We also had an eye to being competitive internationally, and we do
keep our watch on what is going on in other tennis events and in
particular the other grand slams."
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First-round losers at the U.S. Open last year earned $32,000, at
this year's Australian Open 30,000 Australian dollars ($27,800),
while at the French Open in 2013 they got 21,000 euros ($29,100).
Apart from the prize money increases, progress on redevelopment work
around the leafy south west London site was also outlined, including
the planned roof over Court No.1.
Design work is still being done on a retractable roof for the second
showcourt with the structure, which will use the same material as
that on the translucent Center Court roof. It is expected to be in
place for the start of the 2019 tournament, pending planning
Work would include installing an extra 900 seats for the court,
taking the capacity to 12,400.
This year's tournament will take place on only 17 courts, down from
19, as work on new underground facilities, including a 24-hour media
restaurant and enhanced facilities for ball kids working at the
The tournament will be held from June 23 to July 6.
($1 = 0.5950 British pounds)
($1 = 1.0796 Australian dollars)
($1 = 0.7223 euros)
(Editing by Josh Reich)
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