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Wimbledon Pays Champions 1 Million Pounds for First Time

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April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Wimbledon’s singles champions will each receive a million pounds ($1.54 million) for the first time in the 124-year history of the tennis tournament, the All England Club said.

The 18 percent increase for the men’s and women’s winners follows a decline in the value of the pound against the dollar and the euro, Tim Phillips, chairman of the club that organizes the championships, said in a news conference today.

Total prize money will rise 9.4 percent to 13.73 million pounds, the southwest London club said.

“Wimbledon exists in a highly competitive marketplace, and it is the world’s best players who create and drive the interest,” Phillips said. “It is important we offer a level of prize money which is both appropriate to the prestige of the event and which gives the players full and fair rewards.”

The pound has fallen more than 20 percent against both the dollar and the euro over the past three years.

The tournament, where Serena Williams and Roger Federer are defending champions, will be held June 21 through July 4.

Wimbledon renewed contracts with rental car company Hertz Global Holdings Inc. by five years through 2014, and with Britvic Plc’s soft-drink maker Robinsons through 2015, Ian Ritchie, the club’s chief executive officer, said.

“We are very happy with our commercial position overall,” Ritchie said. “We are in a virtuous success circle.”

Profit Rose

The championships made a profit of 29.2 million pounds last year, an increase of 14 percent, as record crowds attended the world’s only grasscourt Grand Slam, the Lawn Tennis Association said in November.

The income from the championships, which are jointly managed by the LTA and the All England Club, will be invested into British tennis.

Wimbledon won’t be setting record crowds this year, the club said today.

Daily ground capacity for this year’s championships will be reduced by 2,500 to a maximum of 37,500 because of refurbishments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh at the All England Club through the London sports desk at drossingh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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