By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Prize Money
- Integrity of the Sport
- What’s new at Wimbledon this year
LONDON, UK – The annual Wimbledon Spring Press conference took place, with key announcements on the Independent Review Panel findings, prize money and new features for this year’s championships.
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The Independent Review Panel’s findings
It was an interesting note to start this year’s Spring Press Conference, following the Interim Report that came out on 25 April, released by the Independent Review Panel (IRP). The AELTC voiced its full support over the Interim Report findings, and vowed to continue to play an active role in providing the consultation requested by the IRP ahead of the publication of the Final Report and in implementing its recommendations.
In particular, the AELTC is fully supportive of the recommendation for a delineation of professional tennis, more independent structure to govern integrity in tennis and a repositioning of the relationship between tennis and betting including:
- Restricting the sale of official data at the lower levels of the sport
- Removal of betting sponsorships
- More intervention from government, regularity bodies and the betting industry itself.
Wimbledon Prize Money 2018
The all-important prize pot figures are as follows:
- Total prize money fund for The Championships 2018: £34m (+7.6%)
- Ladies and Gentlemen’s Singles Champions: £2.25m (+2.3%)
- Over 10% increases in qualifying rounds and rounds 1-4.
Quad Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition
Following on from the success of Wheelchair tennis at The Championships, there will be an inaugural Quad Wheelchair Doubles Exhibition held on Saturday 14 July. Invitees are:
- Dylan Alcott (AUS)
- David Wagner (USA)
- Andy Lapthorne (GBR)
- Lucas Sithole (RSA)
Quad Wheelchair Tennis is a division where both men and women compete equally in the same competition. Players are eligible to complete if they have a permanent physical disability that results in significant loss of function in three or more extremities, while also fulfilling the sport’s minimum disability criteria.
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Grand Slam Rules
The following rules will come into play in 2018
- The time between points will be extended from 20 to 25 seconds which will be monitored by the Chair Umpire, but for now there will be no shot-clock on court – the AELTC is adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach as they are not convinced a shot clock will speed up play, and could actually slow it down!
- Get ready to understand the 1-5-1 format, which they do believe will speed things up. The timing of the pre-match warm-up will be strictly enforced: One minute after walk-on to be ready for the pre-match meeting with the umpire, followed by a five-minute warm-up, then one minute to be ready to start the match.
- Any Main Draw singles player who is unfit to play and withdraws on-site after 12pm on Thursday before the start of the Main Draw will now receive 50% of the First Round prize money. The replacement Lucky Loser will receive the remaining 50%, plus any additional prize money earned thereafter.
- Any player who competes in the First Round Main Draw singles and retires or performs below professional standards may now be subject to a fine of up to First Round prize money in 2018
- The AELTC remains strongly opposed to the introduction of any form of sanctioned coaching, whether it be on-court or from the stands.
Coming to Wimbledon 2018
There are some major changes and improvements to this year’s Championships:
- Security – There will be extensive searches of people, bags and vehicles on entry to the Grounds and Show Courts – check wimbledon.com before travelling
- Courts, Capacity, Times – The Championships will be played on 18 courts: Centre, Nos. 1-3, 4-12 and 14-18. Grounds capacity is 39,000 at any one time, and the start times remain unchanged – 11:30am on outside courts, 1pm on Centre and No. 1 Court and the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Singles finals on Centre Court at 2pm.
- Spectators in the Queue will be able to play for their tickets or Grounds Pass using contactless and other card payments. This facility will also be available for those purchasing tickets for Centre Court, No. 1 Court and No. 2 Court through the Ticket Resale programme
- Free-of-charge Public Wi-Fi has been extended to the Queue and along the east side of the Grounds including the Tea Lawn, Café Pergola and Baseline restaurants.
- Spectators using the Public Wi-Fi in the Queue will be able to access a live stream of the Big Screen via wimbledon.com to help them pass the time while they wait.
- There will be a new website which has been rebuilt and redesigned and features the ability to select favourite players, events and countries and receive alerts n their progress.
- The AELTC is introducing ‘MyWimbledon’ which is a personalised digital experience – email, push messages and will guide the fan through their visit according to their day, ticket type and favourites.
The Championships take place between 2-15 July.
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