Wimbledon winners to walk away £1m richer this year

WIMBLEDON will give this year's winners £1 million as the All England Club continues to defy the credit crunch.

The recession-busting 17.6 per cent increase on the 2009 purse will be awarded to the men's and women's champions, securing the tournament near-parity with the US Open.

The total prize-money for Wimbledon will be 13.725m, up by 1.175m on last year, and has doubled in the past decade.

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Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club, revealed yesterday the rise has been driven by exchange rates and a desire to recognise the dedication shown by players.

"The fact Sterling has fallen between 20-25 per cent against the Dollar and Euro over the past three years means these increases are slightly bigger than in previous years," said Phillips.

"The players are what this tournament is all about and we want to reward them fairly for their extraordinary efforts in this extremely competitive individual global sport.

"The fact we can pay this sort of prize money shows the Championships are successful and that we care about the players."

The All England Club's robust financial health has been helped by signing two new five-year official supplier agreements while interest among fans remains as high as ever.

Chief executive Ian Ritchie admitted the positive outlook puts Wimbledon, which this year runs from 21 June to 4 July, in a position of strength.

"We're constantly looking at longer-term contracts that give us even more stability, while trying to increase the value of those contracts," said Ritchie.

"If you look at last year in terms of the numbers of people wanting to come and the commercial activities, the perception of Wimbledon around the world is extremely strong."

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The redevelopment of Wimbledon's Court Three will result in a reduced daily capacity to 37,500 from 40,000, although the subsequent drop in revenue is expected to be minimal.