Wimbledon has announced record prize money for this summer’s tournament as it seeks to avert a player boycott after being stripped of ranking points over its ban on Russians and Belarussians.
Those entering the Championships will compete for a total prize pot of £40.35 million, 11.1 per cent more than at last year’s event – which had a reduced capacity due to coronavirus – and 5.4 per cent higher than the previous edition in 2019.
The two singles champions will take home £2 million each, the runners-up half that, while those beaten in the first round will still collect £50,000.
Those entering the qualifying competition will also benefit from a 26 per cent increase on last year and a 48.1 per cent uplift on 2019.
John Isner and Lucas Pouille have publicly indicated they could skip Wimbledon after it was stripped of ranking points for banning the likes of Daniil Medvedev over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ian Hewitt, the chairman of the All England Club, said: “From the first round of the qualifying competition to the champions being crowned, this year’s prize money distribution aims to reflect just how important the players are to The Championships as we look to continue to deliver one of the world’s leading sporting events.”
The doubles and mixed doubles prize money funds are up 9.6 and 17.4 per cent on 2021 and 2019, respectively, while those for the wheelchair and quad wheelchair events are up 19.8 and 40.1 per cent.
A return to capacity crowds for the first time in three years and scheduled play on the middle Sunday for the first time have helped make such an increase in prize money possible.
Before pulling out due to injury, Naomi Osaka had said last month: “I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, for me, it’s kind of… I don’t want to say pointless – no pun intended – but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up, stuff like that.”
Former semi-finalist Isner, who has a plaque at Wimbledon after playing the longest match in tennis history there in 2010, said: “Right now, truthfully, I’m not that stoked about Wimbledon. I might just show up on Saturday and maybe I will play Monday and see what happens. Because, you know, our currency on tour is points.”
Pouille told L’Equipe he did not expect to play, wrongly predicting the prize money would be “reduced”.
He added: “I had decided initially to not play Wimbledon before saying to myself, ‘No, it is still a grand slam, you are going to go’, and I signed up for the grass-court tournaments. But I think that I won’t go.”
What is it?
It is the third grand slam of the year, the Wimbledon championships which run between Monday, June 27 and Sunday, July 10.
Who has been drawn for the championships?
The official draw took place on June 24. Emma Raducanu will take on Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, providing the US Open champion has recovered sufficiently from a side strain. Serena Williams will make her Wimbledon comeback against France's Harmony Tan while top seed Iga Swiatek opens her campaign against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett.
Andy Murray avoided a seed in the first round and will take on Australian James Duckworth while defending champion Novak Djokovic begins his quest for a seventh title against South Korea's Kwon Soon-woo.
Who are the defending champions?
Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty won the singles tournaments in 2021 – but Barty will not be returning to defend her crown after unexpectedly retiring from tennis earlier this year.
Who has been handed a wildcard to SW19?
Serena Williams has been awarded a wildcard to compete for a record 24th major title at Wimbledon, after nearly a year on the sidelines through injury.
Williams, 40, last played a competitive match on Centre Court at last year's tournament, when she was forced to retire during the first round with a hamstring problem.
There had been fears around whether she was on the brink of retirement from the sport, but has caused a huge stir in announcing her long-awaited return.
She returned to action at Eastbourne International on Tuesday alongside world No 4 Ons Jabeur in the women's doubles and is set to make her Wimbledon comeback the following week.
Men's singles wildcards
Zizou Bergs (Bel), Liam Broady (GB), Jay Clarke (GB), Alastair Gray (GB), Paul Jubb (GB), Ryan Peniston (GB), Tim van Rijthoven (Hol), Stan Wawrinka (Swi).
Women's singles wildcards
Katie Boulter (GB), Jodie Burrage (GB), Sonay Kartal (GB), Yuriko Miyazaki (GB), Daria Saville (Aus), Katie Swan (GB), Serena Williams (US).
Men's doubles wildcards
Liam Broady (GB) / Jay Clarke (GB), Julian Cash (GB) / Henry Patten (GB), Alastair Gray (GB) / Ryan Peniiston (GB), Jonny O'Mara (GB) / Ken Skupski (GB), plus three more pairings to be announced.
Women's doubles wildcards
Alicia Barnett (GB) / Olivia Nicholls (GB), Jodie Burrage (GB) / Eden Silva (GB), Harriet Dart (GB) / Heather Watson (GB), Sarah Beth Grey (GB) / Yuriko Miyazaki (GB), Sonay Kartal (GB) / Nell Miller (GB), plus two more pairings to be announced.
Mixed doubles wildcards
To be announced on June 29.
Men's wheelchair singles wildcard
Tokito Oda (Jpn).
Women's wheelchair singles wildcard
Momoko Ohtani (Jpn).
Quad wheelchair singles wildcard
Ymanitu Silva (Bra).
Anything new for the tournament?
Wimbledon will become a 14-day tournament from this year, with matches set to be played on middle Sunday, traditionally a day off at the grand slam.
The first Sunday of Wimbledon is normally a rest day, on which tournament organisers work to get the courts back into top shape for the latter rounds, resulting in a so-called "Manic Monday" featuring the entire fourth round of both the men's and women's singles.
"From 2022, to coincide with the centenary of centre court, middle Sunday will become a permanent part of the tournament schedule, turning the Championships into a 14-day event," All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Ian Hewitt said.
"Thanks to improved grass-court technology and maintenance over the past five years... we are comfortable that we are able to look after the courts, most particularly centre court, without a full day of rest."
Can I still buy tickets?
Of course. You’ve heard of the Wimbledon queue, right? You can turn up at Wimbledon Park and wait patiently for a small number of tickets available for Centre Court, Court One or Court Two. You’ll have to queue from around 6am on the morning, if not before in order to get lucky, though.
If you can’t get on the showcourts, you can also purchase a day pass which allows you access to all the ground courts from No 3 to 18. Prices start from £27. The All England Club will only accept cash on the day.
What TV channel are the Championships on?
You can watch coverage on BBC One and Two throughout the fortnight – and on the red button. You can also follow the Telegraph Sport's daily coverage.
What are the latest odds?
Men’s champion latest odds:
Novak Djokovic 11/10
Rafael Nadal 5/1
Matteo Berrettini 6/1
Stefanos Tsitsipas 17/2
Women’s champion latest odds:
Iga Swiatek 3/1
Simona Halep 9/1
Emma Raducanu 10/1