Wimbledon puts ‘Pursuit of Greatness’ at heart of prize money, facilities, and visitor experience
All of the facts, figures and key dates you need to know ahead of Wimbledon 2017, including the prize money
The Championships at Wimbledon this summer will once again set a record for prize money, it was announced at the All England Club’s annual spring conference today.
The total purse is to rise by 12.5 per cent—£3.5 million—to £31.6 million, with each of the singles champions getting a 10 per cent boost from £2 million to £2.2 million.
In a nod to growing audiences for other formats of the sport, the doubles draws are to share a 14.7 per cent increase in their purse, while the wheelchair competitors will benefit from a 33.3 percent rise.
And reflecting the efforts in recent years to lift the opportunities for the lower-ranked players in the tournament, each of the three rounds in qualifying will be increased by 16.7 per cent, with a player reaching the third round pocketing £17,500 and a first-round loser £4,375. Qualifiers will also this year benefit from the same daily allowances as their main draw colleagues.
First-round losers in the main singles draws will each earn £35,000, also a rise of 16.7 per cent.
Seen in the context of the last six years, the AELTC is clearly putting its money where its mouth is. Since 2011, the Championships have more than doubled the total prize money—£14.6 million in 2011—and the cheques for the singles champions. For first-round competitors, the figures have trebled: £11,500 in 2011 compared with £35,000 in 2017.
“Pursuit of greatness”
In its preamble to “About Wimbledon: In Pursuit of Greatness”, the Championship website says: “We have worked hard to build a tournament that has become the pinnacle of the sport and one that every player wants to win.”
Prize money is clearly an important element in this, but so is the experience of the players, and the visitors who flock to see them.
· No1 Court: The retractable roof will be complete for 2019, the conclusion of a three-year project that is both more complex and bigger than that for Centre Court; it will include more comfortable seating and increase capacity by almost 1,000
· Court 19: the new two-level public plaza in place of Court 19 will open in 2018, giving the tournament 18 match courts this year
· Somerset Road developments (commencing 2019): planning permission now granted; relocation of six clay courts on the main site to release the southern area of the main grounds for future development; six new indoor courts and improved indoor facilities for competitors; underground car park, with relocated competitor drop-off and accreditation area
· Qualifying: Last year’s qualifying event at Roehampton drew queues for the first time, so it will be a ticketed event for the first time (£5, with proceeds going to the Wimbledon charitable foundation); better security provision; inflatable court covers from 2018; broadcast from one match court
· Main walkway: The widening of St Mary’s walk, the main visitor walkway, will be complete for this year.
· Raynes Park: Opened by Andy Murray in June 2016, the AELTC Community Sports Ground at Raynes Park features six hard courts (three indoor and three outdoor), which are available for use by the local community, with coaching offered by an AELTC-funded tennis coach. Raynes Park is also the main home of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, involving 400 local children, and the training location for the ball kids.
· Road to Wimbledon: AELTC’s grass roots event for 14 and under, expanded in 2017, with the first tournament in Hong Kong alongside four events in India and two in China. The finalists of the Road to Wimbledon International events are invited to compete alongside the UK finalists in the Road to Wimbledon Finals, taking place at the AELTC in August.
· Outreach: The official charity of the Championships, The Wimbledon Foundation, has awarded £1.8 million in grants and donations since it was established in 2013, and has contributed almost £1 million to 100 local charities and community organisations.
· The BBC has extended broadcasting rights to the Championships until 2024
· 90th anniversary of relationship between Wimbledon and the BBC, the first radio broadcast
· 80th anniversary of first TV broadcast
· 50th anniversary since first colour TV broadcast
· 2017 poster will celebrate anniversary of the relationship between the BBC and Wimbledon
Anniversary of first pro tournament
The Wimbledon World Lawn Tennis Professional Championships were first held in August 1967, and featured eight of the world’s leading professionals as tennis headed to the Open era the following year. It was sponsored and broadcast by the BBC to mark the invention of colour TV, and was won by Rod Laver.
He and his fellow pros—or their representatives—will mark this 50th anniversary as the Chairman’s Special Guests in 2017: Butch Buchholz, Andres Gimeno, Dennis Ralston, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Fred Stolle, Jenny Hoad (widow of Lew Hoad), and Rita Agassi (widow of Pancho Gonzales).
[Virginia Wade, to mark the 40th anniversary of her singles victory in 1977, is also invited.]
2017 Grand Slam prize money (equivalent sterling at current exchange rates)
· Australian Open: Total £29m; Singles champions £2.14m
· French Open: Total £30.45m; Singles champions £1.78m
· Wimbledon: Total £31.6m; Singles champions £2.2m
· US Open (2016 figures): Total £35.9m; Singles champions £2.7m
Wimbledon 2017: Key dates
20 June: Meeting to decide on wild cards
26 June: Qualifying begins
28 June: Seeds announced
30 June: Draws
2 July: Queue opens 8am
3 July: Championships begin (latest starting date since 8 July 1895)