Wimbledon will announce a steep rise in prize money for this year’s tennis champions as the tournament seeks to counter the pound’s fall in value following the Brexit vote, reports suggest.
In 2016, champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams each took home £2m, from a total pot of £28m. This was a 6.4% rise on 2015’s prize money. But this year the increase could be significantly larger as the All England Club aims to compensate for the falling pound, The Times reports.
The amounts are expected to be announced on Wednesday, and prize money would have to be £2.25m to maintain its dollar value compared to previous years.
Last year’s tournament took place weeks after the referendum’s shock result, which sent the pound tumbling against the dollar. By the time Andy Murray lifted the trophy on Centre Court on 10 July, £1 was worth $1.29, down from $1.48 on 23 June – before the referendum’s result was announced. This means his £2m prize was worth $2.6m - $380,000 less than it would have been on the eve of the referendum.
The pound is currently at its post-referendum level again.
The All England Club would have to announce a significant increase to match the US Open, which in 2016 gave $3.5m (currently £2.7m) apiece to its singles champions. This year the Australian Open offered AUD$3.7m (US $2.8m), which at current sterling values (£2.2m) would push Wimbledon’s top prizes into third place among the Grand Slam rankings. The French Open’s top prize is €2.1m (£1.8m).
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In 2017 both the Australian and French Opens made significant increases in their total prize pots, with the Melbourne tournament announcing a 14% rise, with much of the increase going to those bumped out in early rounds, and the Paris tournament’s fund rising by 12%.
Nobody from the All England Club was available to confirm the reports to the Guardian on Monday morning.
A spokeswoman for Wimbledon told the Times: “The All England Lawn Tennis Club always takes into account the business and economic context of tennis worldwide, including any currency fluctuations, when determining prize money for each year’s championships.”