Wimbledon will award just under $50 million (£34 million) to the competitors at the 2018 tournament. According to Wimbledon, both the men’s and women’s Wimbledon champions receive equal pay. The Wimbledon winners will earn a $2,976,408 (£2.25 million) check in addition to the iconic hardware. The runner-up on each side will make $1,488,125,250, while the semi-finalists earn 743,386 (£ 562,000). Quarter-finalists make $371,693. Players that make the fourth round make $215,598, while those that advance to the third round make $132,269. Players with one win advance to the second round and make $83,327. Finally, even those that are unable to move past the first round receive a check for 51,583 just for participating in the tournament.
According to Wimbledon, the tournament first started to provide equal pay in 2007. The finances have gone up quite a bit since the winner of the 1968 Wimbledon earned $2,645 on the men’s side. The winner of the ladies bracket earned just $992. The men’s winner receives a silver gilt cup, while the winner of the ladies bracket wins the iconic plate known as the Venus Rosewater Dish.
Since 1980, Wimbledon has increased the prize money each year. The 2018 winners will make about $66,128 more money than the 2017 top performers. With a large amount of money at stake, there is great incentive for players to compete at Wimbledon. To prevent competitors from participating when they have an injury, Wimbledon introduced a new “50-50” rule where players are fined if it is found out they had a pre-existing injury. The Independent detailed how the rule works.
Wimbledon announced earlier this year that first-round losers this summer will earn £39,000 – an increase of 11.4 per cent – but confirmed that they will be implementing a new “50-50” rule which was first used at this year’s Australian Open.
Under the rule, injured players who are on site and were in the tournament draw can withdraw from their first-round matches and still receive 50 per cent of the prize money given to first-round losers. However, players who go into matches with a pre-existing injury run the risk of being fined up to 100 per cent of their prize money if Wimbledon believe they should not have played.
Why was the rule introduced? Wimbledon is trying to prevent early withdrawals from the tournament.
“In the wake of last year’s first-round withdrawals we pledged to act on it and we have done so,” Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis explained to The Independent. “We were very influential in the creation and adoption of the ’50-50’ rule and we hope that the introduction of it will play a significant role in mitigating the problems of first-round singles retirements.”
While the money is important, Wimbledon is as much about the prestige of being part of history as anything else. Roger Federer spoke about what it means to win Wimbledon after his 2017 victory.
“Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament, will always be my favorite tournament,” Federer explained to ESPN. “My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Because of them, I think I became a better player too. To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me just because of all of that, really. It’s that simple.”