Wimbledon champs get cash boost
Wimbledon’s singles champions will benefit from a prize money rise taking their earnings to £1.1 million ($2.9 million) at the 2011 Championships, organisers announced on Tuesday.
If men’s champion Rafael Nadal and women’s winner Serena Williams successfully defend the titles they won last year they will bank a cheque that represents a 10% rise of £100,000 on the £1 million prize awarded 12 months ago.
Although the rest of the world continues to endure tough times as the global financial recession continues, there is no sign of the All England Club tightening its belt.
The singles runners-up will earn £550,000, the beaten semi-finalists will get £275,000 and even a first-round loser pockets £11,500 for their efforts.
The total prize money for the 125th Championships, which run from June 20 to July 3, is now £14.6 million, a 6.4 percent increase on last year’s amount.
Phillip Brook, the new chairman of the All England Club, defended the annoucement of the rises on Tuesday and said: “Leading international sports events such as Wimbledon are all about the quality of the players on show.
“In the competitive world of top-level sport, it is important that we offer prize money which suitably rewards the players both for the box office appeal they bring to the event and their supreme performances on court.”
Wimbledon’s ability to offer such high sums is helped by the worldwide popularity of the tournament, which guarantees another year of capacity crowds during the two-week event and huge commercial revenue.
The overall ground capacity will be up to 38,500 this year as the new 2,000-capacity Court 3 is now ready for use.
It will be the fourth court at Wimbledon to have the Hawkeye system that allows players to challenge calls, while there is also a new Court 4 that takes the number of courts in use back up to 19 from 17 last year.
Wimbledon chiefs were also keen to trumpet the renovation of the food facilities for the players, who have often complained about the quality of the tournament restaurant.
Former world number one Marat Safin once launched an extraordinary blast over the poor fare, but the Russian has now retired so he will be unable to benefit from the remodelled Wimbledon restaurant, which will have fresh pasta prepared on an individual basis.