Prize money set aside for this year’s Championships at Wimbledon will be distributed to those players who were set to take part at this year’s cancelled tournament, the AELTC announced on Friday.
We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking. Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive
Wimbledon, which was initially scheduled for 29 June – 12 July, was cancelled for the first time since World War Two due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 44,000 people in the United Kingdom.
Following consultation regarding The Club’s insurance cover for cancellation, organisers are now in a position to allocate prize money to the 620 players whose world ranking would have enabled them to gain entry into The Championships 2020 by direct acceptance into the Main Draw or Qualifying event.
From an agreed total of £10m, the AELTC will distribute prize money in lieu of The Championships 2020 with regard for the circumstances of this year and in the spirit of the AELTC’s prize money distribution in recent years.
While Wimbledon’s efforts have been focused on supporting those most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at a local, national and international level, organisers have also held uppermost in mind responsibility for those groups who rely on The Championships for their livelihood and are integral to making Wimbledon happen.
224 singles players will receive £12,500 each as they were set to compete in the qualifying rounds, while the 256 players in the main draw will receive £25,000 each.
Doubles players will receive £6,250 each, while wheelchair and quad wheelchair players are set to get £6,000 and £5,000 each respectively.
Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive, commented: “Immediately following the cancellation of The Championships, we turned our attention to how we could assist those who help make Wimbledon happen.
“We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking.
“We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into The Championships 2020.”
From an agreed total of 10 million pounds ($12.60 million), the AELTC will distribute prize money in lieu of The Championships 2020 with regard for the circumstances of this year and in the spirit of the AELTC’s prize money distribution in recent years.
The AELTC has also recognised the significant impact of cancellation and the absence of income from The Championships on the officiating community, without whom it would be unable to stage the event.
As a result, the AELTC has worked with the LTA, the governing body for tennis in Britain, to provide a payment to the LTA licensed officials who would have worked at The Championships this year, and also a number of International Officials, all highly skilled individuals who are vital to the success of The Championships.
The AELTC has also begun to consider scenarios for The Championships 2021 and beyond, including many aspects of operational delivery, including potential arrangements for the various stakeholders involved in the event, whether they be players, spectators, staff or media.
The 134th Championships will be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.
Given that the Wimbledon Public Ballot had been fully allocated for The Championships 2020 and The Club’s intention as stated at the time of cancellation to transfer those tickets to enable the successful applicants to purchase the same day and court for The Championships 2021, there will be no Wimbledon Public Ballot for 2021.
Since last year’s Championships, organisers have also taken the time to give consideration to the evolution of the sport and the mechanisms of allocating seeding for The Championships.
Given the quality of competition, entertainment and modern grass courts, following detailed discussion with the player groups, the AELTC has decided that the grass court seeding formula used since 2002 has served its time, and from The Championships 2021 seeding for the Gentlemen’s singles draw will be based solely on ranking.
There will be no change to the method of seeding for the Ladies’ singles draw.
The AELTC will continue to develop additional ways to provide support and to show our gratitude to those stakeholders involved in tennis and those workers on the front line of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the course of 2020 and in the build-up to next year’s Championships.
Wimbledon’s philanthropic efforts to date have included the Wimbledon Foundation’s £1.2m coronavirus fund to support charities tackling the crisis response and recovery, the donations of strawberries, towels and balls intended for The Championships 2020, the distribution of daily hot meals to those in need in the local community, and contributions to the Player Relief Programme and wheelchair tennis fund established by the governing bodies of world tennis and a coaches fundraising scheme.
Organiser have also ensured that passionate fans have been able to enjoy extensive Wimbledon coverage during the 2020 Fortnight under the theme of ‘Wimbledon Recreated’ with the support of its broadcasters.