London: Wimbledon is increasing prize money by 40 percent this year and plans to build a retractable roof over Court No. 1. Total prize money for the Grand Slam event will be 22.6 million pounds ($34.4 million), an increase of 6.5 million pounds ($9.9 million) from last year, the All England Club said on Tuesday.
The club called it the largest single increase and biggest total prize fund in the history of professional tennis. The men's and women's singles champions will reach receive 1.6 million pounds ($2.4 million). Roger Federer and Serena Williams each received 1.15 million pounds ($1.75 million) for last year's titles.
The focus of the prize money increase will be for players who lose in the early rounds or in qualifying of the grass-court championships, which will be played from June 24 to July 7. Prize money will go up 60 percent for singles players who lose in the first three rounds. The purse for qualifying is going up by 41 percent.
Doubles players will receive a 22 percent increase in prize money. Meanwhile, the club said it intends to have a roof installed over Court No. 1 in time for the 2019 tournament. A retractable roof has been in place on Centre Court since 2009 to cope with the rain delays that have affected Wimbledon.