August 11, 2020

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Wimbledon shows the way with cancellation prize money

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In most ways, Wimbledon is generally the gold standard among the Grand Slams.

But with Friday’s announcement that it will distribute cash to all the players who would have qualified for this year’s cancelled edition, they’re just showing off.

Now that the All-England Lawn Tennis Club has a better idea of what will be coming its way because of its cancellation insurance (which included a pandemic clause), it will allocate prize money to 620 players who would have been eligible to play this year – either in the main draws or the qualifying.

The AELTC will hand out a total of 10 million pounds ($12.6 million US, $17.2 million CAD) to those players. It’s a terrific gesture they are in no way obligated to make, which makes it all the more terrific.

It breaks down as follows: 224 players who would have been in the qualifying will get 12,500 pounds ($15,800 US). Players who would have been in the main draw of the singles (256) will each get 25,000 pounds ($31,600 US). Some 120 players who would have been in the doubles will get $7,900, 16 wheelchair players will each get $7,600 and the four in the quad wheelchair event will get $6,300.

By that number – at least for the singles – it appears to be foregoing the typically large number of wild cards it has for the British players (who have already received assistance in other ways) and is going straight to the top 128-ranked players in each of the men’s and women’s tours.

Players will only get payment for one event; that is, if the singles players had also planned to play doubles they will get only the singles payment.

Quote from the AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis:

“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.”

Officials get some too

The tournament is also working with the LTA to provide a payment to its officials that would have worked at Wimbledon this year, as well as to “a number of International Officials, all highly skilled individuals who are vital to the success of The Championships.”

Those who were lucky enough to get tickets for the tournament via the public ballot will have that luck rolled over to 2021. So there will be no public ballet next year.

And, perhaps in part because there will be no results from the 2020 grass-court season to factor in, the tournament has also decided to abolish the “grass-court seeding formula” it uses for the men, going forward.