Tennis players knocked out in the first round at this year’s Wimbledon Championships will earn an eye-watering £27,000.
Given the UK average salary is currently around £26,500 according to the Office for National Statistics, that is a pretty impressive take home for not winning a match.
When you consider that, as recently as three years ago, players received £11,500 for failing to win a match at the All England Club, it’s safe to say that austerity has not reached one particular corner of SW19.
It means the top 100 players, who benefit from direct entry into all Grand Slams, could earn almost £100,000 a year just for losing in the first round.
When many ordinary people haven’t received a pay rise for years, it is easy to question quite why Wimbledon should be passing on so much money to the players.
But, allied to some stunning improvements to the Wimbledon grounds – a huge ongoing investment designed to retain the Championships’ status as world tennis’ premier tournament – bosses have recognised their biggest champions are the players.
This year’s prize money, which average more than 10 per cent across the board, maintains the tournament’s status as the best paying Grand Slam, something the All England Club makes no apologies for.
As chief executive Philip Brook points out: “Players have had to work extremely hard to get here and make it into the first round of a Grand Slam.
“The cost of things like travelling, training and having a coach is not cheap.”
Any jealousy the public may have over prize money is, in Wimbledon’s case, largely misplaced with them having been overwhelmingly funded by commercial and broadcasting deals rather than hikes in ticket prices.
While the players may be getting inflation-busting pay increases, the All England Club deserves real credit for keeping ground passes at £20 for a seventh successive year – making it one of the best value tickets in sport.
For the fans: Despite the rise in prize money, ticket prices have remained the same