(April 30, 2019) The Championships, Wimbledon held its annual Spring Press Conference on Tuesday with Tournament CEO Richard Lewis.
Wimbledon prize money will go up by 12% to 49.5 million dollars, with the singles champions taking home a little over 3 million dollars, a raise of 4.4 %. First round losers will pocket 58,600 dollars.
Wimbledon may initiate a serve clock, like the U.S. Open.
Wimbledon will also begin an online ticket ballot in August of 2019 for the 2020 tournament. This will replace the old, self-addressed envelope system.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) today demonstrated its confidence in the future of The Championships with the announcement of a series of significant enhancements for The Championships 2019 and beyond, including:
– The opening of the No.1 Court, including a new fixed and retractable roof, with ticket proceeds from The No.1 Court Celebration to be donated to the Wimbledon Foundation’s new fund for the homeless, “A Roof For All”.
– The successful acquisition of Wimbledon Park Golf Club and initial planning for a new AELTC Master Plan.
– Changes to tennis at The Championships including the final set tie-break and revised roof protocol.
– Further improvements in the developing strategy for sustainability and the environment including the introduction of a 100% recyclable and recycled bottle by evian, Official Water of The Championships.
– The junior grass court tennis strategy in collaboration with the LTA, including a 14&U Championships from 2022.
– An 11.8% increase in prize money for competitors at The Championships 2019.
These decisions are underpinned by the AELTC’s ethos of long-term, sustainable investment for the benefit of all its guests to ensure that The Championships continues to maintain its position as the world’s premier tennis tournament and one of the world’s best annual sporting events.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC, commented: “As I approach the end of my tenure as Chairman of the AELTC and The Championships, I have been proud to have witnessed a period of significant change over the past decade. The investment we have made in our Estate, in the grass court season, in facilities for all of our guests both onsite and around the world, in prize money, in the surplus to the LTA, and in our staff, has resulted in strong foundations for the future of The Championships and of our sport as we plan for a new period of leadership. The enhancements announced for 2019, in particular the successful completion of the No.1 Court Project, continue to reflect our confidence in the future and in our strategy of continuous improvement, to maintain Wimbledon’s place at the pinnacle of the sport.”
The Championships 2019 in detail
The No.1 Court Project
– The AELTC and main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine are pleased to announce the completion of the three-year No.1 Court Project on time and on budget. Among the enhancements are a new fixed and retractable roof; an increased capacity of 12,345; the replacement of all seats inside the stadium for improved spectator comfort; 15 refurbished hospitality suites; further enhancement to the two-level Walled Garden public plaza; and the installation of a living wall either side of the Big Screen facing Aorangi Terrace.
– The No.1 Court Celebration in support of the Wimbledon Foundation, to be held on Sunday 19 May, will feature a programme of tennis and music to entertain a capacity crowd and mark the first official deployment of the new roof. With music from Paloma Faith and Joseph Calleja, supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Grange Park Opera chorus, there will be three tennis matches featuring John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Lleyton Hewitt and Goran Ivanisevic, with further prominent male and female players to be announced nearer the time. A proportion of ticket proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the charities nominated by the participating players, and to “A Roof For All”, a new fund for the homeless set up by the Wimbledon Foundation to help support charities in the local area and across London as they tackle this growing social need. The Foundation is running an online auction with 50 prizes on offer including tennis memorabilia and special experiences that will run until Monday 20 May at com.
– The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum will celebrate the history of the No.1 Court with a dedicated exhibition featuring architectural plans and models from the 1920s through to the present day, an audio-visual wall showcasing hundreds of magic moments from on court over the years, and original artworks commissioned to commemorate the No.1 Court Project. The exhibition will run until March 2020 and further information can be found at wimbledon.com/museum.
Please see the appendix for further facts about the No.1 Court Project.
A video of the No.1 Court Project construction is available on wimbledon.com.
Recent images of the No.1 Court Project are available at wimbledonimages.com
Over the last nine months more than 40 projects have been completed in time for this year’s Championships, including the refurbishment of the Members’ Dressing Rooms, used by competitors during The Championships, an additional storey on the Museum building, and a new Members’ Brasserie.
The following elements of the Master Plan are currently at development, planning and design stages:
– Somerset Road: Following the completion of the No.1 Court Project, improvements to the Somerset Road site will be addressed as the next stage of the Master Plan.
– Construction of six clay courts to unlock part of the southern Grounds for future development.
– Six new indoor courts and improved indoor facilities for competitors’ use.
– Construction of an underground car park with 350 spaces and around 40 electric charging points, which will be the hub of The Championships’ courtesy car operation, and the relocated competitor drop-off and accreditation area.
– The underground car park will also provide an enhanced year-round parking solution for staff and contractors to help mitigate congestion on Somerset Road.
– Millennium Building: A refurbishment of this important facility, which houses competitors, the media and Members, is progressing through an in-depth briefing and design stage.
– Wimbledon Park Golf Club: Following the successful acquisition at the end of 2018, the WPGC will continue to operate as an 18-hole golf course until 31 December 2021, with at least one further year as a 9- or 10-hole golf course on a rolling basis subject to a 12-month notice period. Initial work has commenced on a new AELTC Master Plan to create a vision for the 120-acre site in its entirety. The AELTC’s aspirations for the land include relocating the Qualifying Competition, providing an enhanced event experience for spectators, and exploring options to deliver community use of the land outside of The Championships period. Any future developments will protect and celebrate the heritage of the land, guided by our landscape advisers who have closely studied the significance of the Capability Brown-designed land, and importantly, be delivered in partnership with the local community.
– AELTC Community Sports Ground at Raynes Park: The local community facility currently has six hard courts (three indoor and three outdoor), with more than 1,000 players registered for ‘pay and play’ access to the centre. Phase 2 of the development, which includes three additional indoor courts and up to 16 grass courts, has been granted planning permission and will commence in June.
Courts, Capacity, Times
– The Championships 2019 will be played on 18 courts: Centre, No.1, No.2, No.3, 4-12, 14-18.
– The Grounds capacity is up to 42,000 at any one time.
– The start time has been moved 30 minutes earlier this year on the outside courts to 11.00am. The start time remains 1.00pm on Centre Court and No.1 Court, and 2.00pm for the Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Singles finals on Centre Court.
– Following last year’s successful exhibition of Quad Wheelchair tennis, we are pleased to introduce Quad Wheelchair Singles and Doubles into the events programme for 2019.
– The Ladies’ Singles Qualifying Draw will increase in size from 96 to 128, bringing it in-line with the size of the Gentlemen’s Singles Qualifying Draw. As a result, there will no longer be Qualifying Doubles events.
– A tie-break at 12-12 in the final set will apply to all events at The Championships across Qualifying, Gentlemen’s, Ladies’, Mixed and Junior singles and doubles. The match winner(s) will be the first player(s) to win seven points with an advantage of two or more points. There will be no change to the current format of the Wheelchair and Quad Wheelchair events, which are the best of three tie-break sets.
– Electronic line-calling and players challenges will be introduced on Courts 14-17, with more courts to be added next year.
– To ensure parity there will be one heat rule adopted by The Championships.
– With the completion of the second roof, the opportunity has been taken to revise The Championships roof protocol with two significant changes: To Be Arranged matches will be completed, where possible, under the roof; and matches being played under the roof that are suspended due to the 11pm curfew, will recommence the following day without the roof, unless inclement weather dictates otherwise.
– The Southern Village: a new public area in the south of the Grounds featuring The Tennis Shop, food and drink outlets, a new Tennis Fan Experience, and a sustainability activation space alongside No.2 Court and Court 12. Within the Southern Village is the Rosewater Pavilion, the new Official Hospitality space inside the Grounds, provided by Official Hospitality Provider Keith Prowse, alongside The Lawn, which is situated across Church Road at the Wimbledon Club.
– The introduction of the Aorangi Player Lawn, a new warm-up and stretching space for competitors on what was formerly Aorangi Practice Courts 1 and 2.
– The enhancement of the Tennis in the Park Community activity that has previously taken place on Middle Saturday with a move to Middle Sunday, working in collaboration with the LTA and Merton to ‘open up’ Wimbledon for the community and inspire those who have been watching to take to the court while the AELTC’s grass courts receive their vital day of watering and rest.
– Finally, the AELTC wishes to record its sincere thanks to Andrew Jarrett, our long-standing Championships Referee, who will be retiring following this year’s Championships. Gerry Armstrong has been named Championships Referee Designate and will succeed Andrew for The Championships 2020.
Sustainability & Environmental Impact
Sustainability is a key focus for the AELTC and we are committed to taking a sustainable approach whenever possible in the running of The Championships, the Club and the Foundation in order to play our part in reducing our impact on the environment. Last year we undertook a full review of our business practices, sought strategic advice by employing an industry expert in the field, and launched our mission to focus on sustainability, alongside a range of initiatives focused on four key themes of energy, transport, food and drink, and waste. The AELTC is pleased to be implementing several changes for 2019:
– The launch of the first 100% recycled, 100% recyclable water bottle from evian, Official Water of The Championships.
– The removal of plastic bags from the player racket stringing operation, which means there will be 4,500 fewer plastic bags used at this year’s Championships.
– Deploying staff around the Grounds to champion sustainability and support the public in discarding waste into the appropriate bin streams.
– The launch of the Sustainability at Wimbledon activation space, “Wimbledon 2030”, in the Southern end of the Grounds, showcasing the ongoing work of the AELTC and our Official Suppliers in this important area.
Junior Grass Court Strategy
– Paul Hutchins MBE, who sadly passed away earlier this year, believed passionately in the power of the prospect of playing at Wimbledon to motivate young players to recognise the importance of grass court tennis and to seize the opportunity to compete on it from a young age. But many juniors still turn up to Wimbledon having never played on grass.
– This thought is at the heart of the AELTC Junior Grass Court strategy and the storytelling concept ‘the future is green’, through which, in collaboration with the LTA, we aim to provide opportunities for juniors to practise and compete on grass at all levels of their development and nurture their desire to compete at Wimbledon, and to protect grass court tennis for the future.
– A new 18&U Grade 1 ITF grass court tournament in Nottingham will take place the week before the existing Grade 1 ITF tournament in Roehampton, creating a three-week grass court series culminating with The Junior Championships at Wimbledon for the top 150 juniors in the world.
– A new International 14&U Grass Court event will be staged in the second week of The Championships from 2022.
– Further enhancements to the 14&U Road to Wimbledon participation events, taking place across the UK at local, regional and national level, and in India, China, Hong Kong and Japan in 2019, culminating in the Road to Wimbledon Finals at the All England Club in August.
Commercial & Finance
– Centre Court Debenture Issue: In March, The All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc announced the issue of up to 2,520 Centre Court debentures for The Championships from 2021 to 2025 inclusive. Next year will mark 100 years since debentures were first introduced in the 1920s to fund the purchase of part of the Company’s present Grounds and the building of Centre Court. Since then, the proceeds from subsequent debenture issues have provided funding for many significant improvements to the facilities at the Grounds. Applications close on 10 May and it is anticipated to raise £160m net of VAT and costs.
– New Official Suppliers: Last week, the AELTC announced OPPO as the first Official Smartphone partner and first-ever Asian partner of The Championships. The five-year agreement, which begins this year, is an opportunity for both brands to grow their presence in key developing markets. OPPO will also play a significant role in support of the professional grass court season and the promotion of the AELTC’s grass court strategy, which aims to provide enhanced opportunities for juniors to compete on grass courts at all stages of their development. In addition, as announced last year, 2019 will mark the first year of the AELTC’s five-year partnership with American Express as Official Payments partner.
– Online Ballot: From The Championships 2020, applications for the Public Ballot will be online. Ensuring the accessibility of Wimbledon tickets for spectators of all ages and geographical locations remains a primary focus and importantly the Ballot will retain the principle that applications may be submitted at any time during the application window; there is no advantage to being the fastest to apply. Register for myWimbledon on com to be notified of application dates.
– Wimbledon Rematch 1980: We are proud to be bringing the concept of immersive theatre and cinema to sport, through the launch of ‘Wimbledon Rematch 1980’. Set in a recreated All England Club of the 1980s, this immersive experience will allow ticket-holders to relive all the drama and glory of The Championships 1980, including Borg and McEnroe’s famous tie-break. Visit wimbledonrematch.com to find out more.
– The total prize money fund for The Championships 2019 will be £38m, an 11.8% increase on £34m last year.
– The Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Champions will each receive £2.35m, increased from £2.25m in 2018.
– Singles prize money for players competing in the Qualifying Competition and first three rounds of Main Draw will increase by more than 10%. Since 2011, first round prize money has increased by almost four-fold, from £11,500 to £45,000.
– The Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles will receive an increase of 14.2%, while Mixed Doubles will increase by 6.2%.
– The prize money paid for Wheelchair events will increase by 47% through a combination of a double digit increase for the existing Wheelchair events and new prize money for the Quad Wheelchair events that have been added this year.
Please see the appendix for full details of prize money at The Championships 2019.
Chairman’s Special Guests
The Chairman’s Special Guests in 2019 are Ann Jones, celebrating 50 years since winning the Ladies’ Singles title in 1969 (she also won the Mixed Doubles title that year with Fred Stolle) and Rod Laver, also celebrating 50 years since winning in 1969 (Gentlemen’s Singles Champion 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969). This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Rod achieving his second calendar Grand Slam, when he won all four Grand Slam singles titles in one year.
This year’s artist is Luis Morris, a British artist and member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He was Championships’ Artist in 2007, painting and drawing the construction of the Centre Court roof. Over the past three years, the AELTC again commissioned Morris to document the construction of the No.1 Court roof in a series of pen drawings.
This year, to bring this creative piece of work to a close, Morris has been commissioned to portray The No.1 Court Celebration on 19 May in an oil painting. Morris will be attending the event with his sketch book and camera to record details to use as inspiration over the following six months. He will also visit The Championships this year to conclude his pen series with a final view of the exterior of the completed No.1 Court.
Key Dates: The 133rd Championships
Tuesday 18 June: Tennis Sub-Committee meeting to decide wild cards.
Monday 24 – Thursday 27 June: Qualifying Competition, Bank of England Sports Club.
Wednesday 26 June: Seeds announced.
Friday 28 June, 10am: The Draw, Main Interview Room.
Saturday 29 June and Sunday 30 June: Player Media Availabilities (players and times TBC) – please email firstname.lastname@example.org with requests.
Sunday 30 June, 8am: The Queue opens.
Monday 1 – Sunday 14 July: The Championships 2019.