Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prize money boost for Wimbledon

Posted April 20, 2011 15:21:00

Wimbledon's singles champions will benefit from a prize money rise taking their earnings to 1.1 million pounds ($1.7 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 per cent rise of 100,000 pounds on the 1 million pound 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 pounds, 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 per cent increase on last year's amount.

Phillip Brook, the new chairman of the All England Club, defended the announcement 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."

Although Wimbledon remains one of the sport's biggest cash cows, the tournament's bosses are concerned that other tennis events in the United Kingdon could be hit by withdrawals from star players concerned by high taxation.

Athletes who compete in individual sports like tennis and golf are currently taxed a percentage of their endorsements for each day they spend in the UK, whereas team sports like football are exempt from those rules.

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.


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