By Ros Satar
Wimbledon Spring press conference highlights
- Wheelchair Singles will make it’s debut as a championship event at The Championships
- Integrity focus this year
- Prize money hike and Court 1 project
LONDON, UK – The annual Wimbledon Spring Press Conference continued their on-going theme of investment in the event and in the sport, but recognises the shaky start to the year with a focus on the sport’s integrity.
Gentlemen’s and Ladies Wheelchair Singles will make their debut at Wimbledon in 2016. The eight-draw singles will start on 7 July and will conclude with the Ladies Wheelchair Singles final on 9 July and the Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles final on 10 July.
There is no doubt that the sport has been rocked in 2016 with the focus on betting within the sport, the continuing controversy over the recent WADA bans over the use of Meldonium, and the resulting suspension of former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova.
The AELTC works closely in conjunction with the ATP and WTA tours, the ITF and the other Grand Slams as one of the seven partners of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). An independent review was announced in January 2016, with a commitment to implement and fund the recommendations of the review.
Pending the publication of the findings, Wimbledon are investing in additional integrity measures for the 2016 Championships.
- Accreditation Procedures are being intensified – Increased communication to ensure all accredited individuals are fully informed that any form of gambling on Wimbledon matches remain strictly prohibited under their accreditation terms and conditions
- Additional data security by way of video images and two data sources to be captured on all courts for the main events, and including Qualification
- Increased data monitoring, working with IBM, the TIU and the betting industry – it is worth nothing that there were no betting alerts in the 2015 Championships
- Increased education and support for players and officials as part of the Tennis Integrity Protection Programme
- Enhanced anti-doping provision – in addition to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) administered and enforced by the ITF, the AELTC will be implementing additional anti-doping measures for Wimbledon in 2016, although the details have remained confidential.
Competitors this tear will receive £28.1m in total prize money, which equates to a 5% increase of £1.35m. The singles champions will each receive £2.0m (up 6.4% from £1.88m in 2015) and the inclusion of the Wheelchair singles events sees a huge hike in their prize money for the Wheelchair tennis players with a title of £200K.
Doubles players will also see an increase with an average 3.1% jump in their prize money.
The Championships will take 27 June to 10 July.
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