Wimbledon’s Changing

It has been recently announced that the prize money for Wimbledon will be upped by 40% in 2013. Being increased by £6.5m from last year, the men’s and women’s singles champions will now receive an extra £450,000 – £1.6m each. The prize money for the men and women was originally equalled in 2007.

This decision could have come after last year’s scare, where many players including current number one Novak Djokovic, were threatening to boycott the Australian Open. The Aussies did not increase the wage by much, but the strike fears were false and Djokovic did in fact go on to win the Grand Slam. But, could the same have happened at Wimbledon?

The chairman of The All England Club says no: “We’ve listened to the players, but we have had no negotiations with players or the ATP or WTA tour,” meaning their haven’t been any official complaints.

He continued that he wanted to help the lower ranked players – from about 50 to 200 – and that is where the main increases are. “We wanted to do more for those players. So this year we’ve revisited that group, which represents the large majority of the players.” Said chairman Philip Brook. Approximately 88% of the qualified players lose out in the first three rounds, and as it stands they will receive about 60% more. This is expected to increase to about 90% of the next couple of years.

According to the BBC, he also mentioned they want to show youngsters that football isn’t the only route to becoming a sports millionaire. And the prospect of £1.6m in two weeks isn’t bad.

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Court 1 Currently – Courtesy of @WimboGroundsman

Meanwhile, the possibly more interesting plans are that in around 2019 Wimbledon Court 1 will be gaining a retractable roof – to compliment Centre Court. Yet, it won’t be simple due to the current inward slant of the roof, which only covers the circular stands. It will need to be completely re-constructed, so they decided they may as well add in some more seating as well. There is also the temperature control to think about, so designing it could take up most of the six years until the target day of 2019.

The former US Open runner-up Greg Rudeski also commented: “I think is the right decision because in modern times you need to have live sport all the time.” And the British Canadian  player continued: “If the weather is suspect at Wimbledon, as we know it sometimes can be, it allows people to see live tennis rather than replays of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg playing in the 1980s. It is just moving with the times and great news.”

Which in my opinion is definitely true! But I just hope it doesn’t take 45 minutes for the air conditioning to tart working, as this is the case with the Centre Court roof. That was installed in 2009.

Finally, any fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as they say it will not impact ticket prices, as the changes are intended to attract more people to the tournament. What are your opinions?

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