LONDON, Great Britain -- The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced a series of significant enhancements to the 2019 Wimbledon Championships and beyond on Tuesday, as they move towards the 133rd staging of the tennis calendar's most well-known grass-court event, which begins on July 1.
“The enhancements announced for 2019, in particular the successful completion of the No.1 Court Project, continue to reflect our confidence in the future and in our strategy of continuous improvement, to maintain Wimbledon’s place at the pinnacle of the sport,” stated Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC.
The prize money will increase by 11.8 percent at this year's edition. The total prize money fund for 2019 Wimbledon will be £38 million, of which the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles champions will each receive £2.35 million (increased from £2.25 million in 2018). Singles prize money for players competing in the qualifying and first three rounds of the main draw will increase by more than 10 percent.
The Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles will receive an increase of 14.2 percent, while Mixed Doubles will increase by 6.2 percent. The prize money paid for Wheelchair events will increase by 47 percent through a combination of a double digit increase for the existing Wheelchair events and new prize money for the Quad Wheelchair events which will be added this year.
Wimbledon will also introduce a tiebreak at 12-12 in the final set this year, which will apply to all of the 2019 events. Additionally, the Ladies’ Singles qualifying draw will increase in size from 96 to 128, bringing it in-line with the size of the Gentlemen’s Singles qualifying draw.
2019 will also feature the opening of the refurbished No.1 Court, including a new fixed and retractable roof. The court will have an increased capacity for 12,345 spectators.
The No.1 Court Celebration in support of the Wimbledon Foundation will take place on Sunday, May 19th, with a program including music and three tennis matches featuring Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Lleyton Hewitt, and Goran Ivanisevic. Proceeds from The No.1 Court Celebration will be donated to the Wimbledon Foundation’s new fund for the homeless, “A Roof For All.”
There will be one heat rule applied to all events at Wimbledon this year, which has been revised due to the completion of the second roof. 'To Be Arranged' matches will be completed, where possible, under the roof, and matches being played under the roof that are suspended due to the 11:00 p.m. curfew will recommence the following day without the roof, unless inclement weather dictates otherwise.
Among the other modifications announced by the AELTC are sustainability improvements, including recycled water bottles provided by Evian, and the removal of plastic bags from the player racket stringing operation, which means there will be 4,500 fewer plastic bags used at this year’s Wimbledon.
Moreover, a junior grass court tennis strategy in collaboration with the LTA was announced, with additions of new junior grass-court championships over the next four years to motivate young players to recognize the importance of grass-court tennis, and to seize the opportunity to compete on it from a young age.