Players who lose in the first three rounds of the men’s and women’s singles tournaments at Wimbledon this year will see their prize money increase by over 100%, the All England Club has announced.
The news was revealed at a news conference which also confirmed that the male and female champions at this year’s Championships will now be playing for a prize fund of £1.76million, and prize increases will now be made for all entrants of both draws for the first round.
For players that exit the tournament in its first week, they will now fall into the category of players that earn £27,000, which is more than double the reward of £11,500 that they have been awarded in the last three years.
All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Philip Brook feels that the increase in prize money is a reward for the quality of players that play at SW19, and that it will help players of a lower ranking fund themselves on the ATP and WTA tour.
He told BBC Sport: "We have been conscious of the fact that we have many players coming to Wimbledon who are making their way on the professional circuit looking to reach the top echelons of the sport.
"It is a very long and a very expensive road on which to travel, and we've felt for the last two or three years that we need to do more to help these players on that journey."
The prize pool has increased to £25million, with the prize for the winners having increased by 10% since Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli became champions in the men’s and women’s singles respectively in 2013.
Players in the top 100 of the world rankings, who gain automatic entry to all four Grand Slams, could now earn nearly £100,000 in a year if they lost in the first round of every tournament they entered.
Richard Lewis, chief executive of the AELTC,also believes the increase for first round losers is a fair decision, as he believes that reaching the first round itself is an achievement that deserves reward.
When questioned whether the increase is appropriate, he answered: "I slightly take issue with that. 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.”
Brook also went on to add that British number one Murray’s seeding for this year’s Championships, which begin on June 23rd, is likely to be improved by his performances on grass in the last two years, despite falling to eighth in the world rankings.
The 27-year-old became the first British male to win the singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936 when beating Novak Djokovic in last year’s final, which came after a tournament victory at Queen’s Club just three weeks earlier.
He also reached the final at Wimbledon in 2012, and as the AELTC base their seeding on a player’s performances on grass in the last two years as well as their world ranking, he could still be seeded in the top four.
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