Wimbledon reveals highest prize fund - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wimbledon reveals highest prize fund

By Martyn Herman 24/04/2007 11:53:17 PM Comments (0)

The total prize money purse at this year's Wimbledon championships will make it the most lucrative tennis tournament ever, the All England Club announced.

Both men's and women's singles champions will receive STG700,000 ($A1.69 million) as part of a total prize fund of STG11,282,710 ($A27.19 million), up 8.7 per cent on the 2006 total.

The men's champion's cheque has increased by 6.9 per cent while the women's has risen by 12 per cent after Wimbledon decided in February to offer equal prize money.

Because of the tournament's decision to come into line with the other three grand slams and offer equal prize money, the overall women's singles prize fund has shot up by 19.8 per cent.

"No tennis tournament has ever offered higher prize money than Wimbledon in 2007," Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club said.

"We want to reward the players appropriately for the talent, entertainment and drama they bring to the grass courts of Wimbledon.

"Apart from two or three irate letters the reaction to offering equal prize money has been very positive."

Plans were also unveiled to build a new 4,000-seat Court Two, to be completed by the 2009 championships. A 2,000-seat Court Three is also in the pipeline, although no fixed completion date was given.

Court Two, which still allows some fans to stand on terraces, has become know as the graveyard of champions after a string of shock results over the years.

Building work will begin on the new Court Two immediately after this year's championships which conclude on July 8.

The three-year project to upgrade Centre Court and install a retractable roof is on schedule to be ready for the 2009 tournament, according to the All England Club.

Spectators attending this year's tournament will be exposed to the elements, however, as the existing roof has been demolished as modernisation of the traditional venue continues.

When work is completed in 2009 the capacity of Centre Court will have increased from 13,800 to 15,000.

The retractable roof will allow play to continue on Centre Court and minimise Wimbledon's infamous rain delays. It will cover the court in 10 minutes, although there would still be a 30-minute wait while the air management system created perfect playing conditions.

"We want this to be the premier tennis tournament in the world, that's why we are doing so much work on Centre Court," Phillips told reporters.

"But we still want to retain the image of a tennis tournament in the garden and don't want the place to be full of concrete."

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