Wimbledon champion will pocket over £1m

The singles champions at Wimbledon this year will each receive £1.1m, a 10 per cent increase from last year.

The All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie announced today the total prize fund for the 125th championships is going up by 6.4 per cent to £14.6m.

Because the British pound has strengthened since last year, the increase is even larger when counted in dollars.

"Leading international sports events, such as Wimbledon, are all about the quality of the players on show," All England Club chairman Philip Brook said. "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 for their supreme performances on court."

Last year, prize money for the singles champions broke the £1m mark for the first time.

Ritchie said the All England Club has been asking the British government to relax tax rules to make the tournament more attractive to competitors.

Athletes visiting Britain for team sports such as football are not taxed on earnings and endorsements for their time in the country but individuals are.

Ritchie said the All England Club had also spoken with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who is also making presentation to government for the change.

"If Lionel Messi comes here for a Champions League final, he does not get taxed, but Roger Federer does," Ritchie said. "We don't believe it is an impediment to Wimbledon in terms of people coming here. But it is on their radar screen, let's put it that way.

"It's the same with golf. There are certain international golfers who don't come and play here, as I understand it, for that reason."

Ritchie said tournament organizers had not heard from Serena Williams over whether she intends to defend her singles title. Williams hasn't played competitively since winning the tournament last year because of complications following a foot injury.

The 2011 Wimbledon tournament will also feature a new 2,000-seat No. 3 court featuring the same Hawk-Eye technology used on the other show courts.

With a new No. 4 court also open for the first time, the total number of courts will be back up to the traditional 19 following several years of redevelopment.

Ground capacity will increase this year from 37,500 spectators to 38,500.

Ritchie said he had also asked the government to impose the same restrictions on resale of tickets that it extends to the Olympics. Touting of Olympic tickets is strictly prohibited.

"I find it incongruous that the Olympics gets treated one way — the home secretary says that ticket touts will be fined £20,000 — and we fail to get any legislation to protect Wimbledon," Ritchie said.

The All England Club will host the tennis competition at next year's London Olympics, but Ritchie said spectators expecting the tradition and pomp of the Wimbledon tournament may be disappointed.

"It will look and feel different to the championships," Ritchie said. "And that is entirely right and proper."