Wimbledon to distribute prize money among players after 2020 Championships cancelled

The All England Club announced that £10 million in prize money would be distributed to players who would have qualified to take part in the cancelled Wimbledon 2020.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) took the unprecedented step of cancelling the 2020 Championships because of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19. This is the first time Wimbledon has not been held since the Second World War.

But the AELTC, who were foresighted enough to have pandemic insurance, have been able to make the decision to allocate the prize money saved to the players.

‘Uppermost in our mind has been our responsibility to do what we can for those groups who rely on The Championships for their livelihood and are integral to making Wimbledon happen,’ the statement read.

A total of £10 million in prize money will be distributed among the 620 players whose ranking is high enough to enable them to have participated in Wimbledon 2020, either with direct entry into the main draw or through qualifying, had it taken place.

Novak Djokovic took home £2,350,000 in prize money when he won Wimbledon in 2019 (Photo: Frank Molter/dpa)

The money will be distributed ‘with regard for the circumstances of this year and in the spirit of the AELTC’s prize money distribution in recent years’.

Prize money will be allocated as follows:

  • £25,000 each to 256 players who would have qualified for the main draw
  • £12,500 each to 224 players who would have qualified for the qualifying draw
  • £6,250 each to 120 players who would have qualified for the main doubles draw
  • £6,000 each to 16 players who would have qualified for the wheelchair draw
  • £5,000 each to four players who would have qualified for the quad wheelchair draw

Players will only receive money for one event.

First-round losers in singles at Wimbledon 2019 received £45,000 with the champions taking home £2,350,000.

The payout is likely to come as a boon to those players struggling to make ends meet without being able to play on the ATP, WTA or ITF Tours, all of which have been shut down totally since mid-March.

The AELTC Chairman Richard Lewis said:

‘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.’

The AELTC will also be offering a payment to LTA-licensed and international officials (such as umpires and lines judges) who would have been working at Wimbledon this year.

The club also announced the end to one of its distinctive features: The grass-court seeding formula. Unlike all the other majors, which seed players according to their rankings, Wimbledon has used a specific formula to determine men’s seeds which gives more weight to grass-court results. The AELTC said:

‘Given the quality of competition, entertainment and modern grass courts, following detailed discussion with the player groups, the AELTC has decided that the grass court seeding formula used since 2002 has served its time.’

Male players will now be seeded according to the ATP Tour rankings, which is the system already in place for the women.

This change reflects how much slower grass courts have become over the past 20 years, meaning that there is no longer such a stark difference between playing on grass and other surfaces.