Wimbledon rejects equal pay for women

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The Independent Online

The gap is getting smaller, but women will continue to receive less money than the men at Wimbledon.

The All England Club on Thursday announced a 6.1 percent increase in prize money for the June 26-July 9 tournament - bringing the total to just over 8 million pounds (dlrs 12.6 million) - while rejecting women's demands for equal pay.

Tim Phillips, the new club chairman, said he doesn't foresee the policy changing any time soon.

"I think it is pretty unlikely in the forseeable future," he said.

The men's champion will receive £477,500, up from £455,000 last year, and the women's winner will get £430,000, up from £409,500.

Overall prize money is £4.16 million for the men and £3.5 million pounds for the women. That's a 7.9 percent increase for women, compared to 4.8 percent for men.

The women's overall purse is 84 percent of the men's figure. The prize for the women's champion is 90 percent of the men's.

The U.S. Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments which pays equal prize money. Like Wimbledon, the French Open and Australian Open give bigger payoffs to the men.

"Let us not forget that Wimbledon is the second most generous tournament to the ladies," Phillips said, adding that women champions often take home more than the men because they also compete in doubles.

Women's tennis has surged in popularity in recent years, often eclipsing the men's game with a gallery of young stars featuring Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, and Venus and Serena Williams.ing runs of teen-age qualifiers Alexandra Stevenson and Jelena Dokic.