Wimbledon organisers have announced the Number One court will have a retractable roof to keep off the rain, probably by 2019, and they have upped total prize money at this year's grass court tournament by 40 percent to the biggest prize fund in tennis.
All England Club chairman Philip Brook told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday (April 23) that designing a new fixed roof and retractable roof for Number One court, which presently has a roof only over the crowd, would take two years, and then another three for building work.
"There then follows a period of building - our experience with the Centre Court roof and the rebuilding of the East side of the Centre Court was that it took three years for us to get through this project," said Brook. "So in terms of a realistic expectation for having this project completed, we are expecting it to be done by the 2019 Championships."
Wimbledon's main court, the Centre Court, already has a retractable roof which has been successful in enabling top players to keep playing despite unseasonal rain showers.
Players at this year's grass court grand slam, which starts on June 24, will receive a total of 22.6 million pounds with the men's and women's singles champions each pocketing 1.6 million pounds, Brook said. This is slightly more than this year's Australian Open winners.
Last year's Wimbledon singles champions earned 1.15 million pounds.
Brook told reporters the club had made the increases because it wanted to and not because it had to.
"In terms of being internationally competitive, players at Wimbledon have always been and always will be, top of our agenda," he added. "The prize money landscape has changed significantly over the past year. Today represents an opportunity for us to express to all the players how much they are appreciated by Wimbledon."
Brook said there had been no pressure from the world's leading players but said the prize-money increases reflected calls for more money for the lesser-ranked players who are often beaten in the early rounds.
Players who lose in the opening three rounds at Wimbledon this year will be the chief beneficiaries of the prize money rises with increases of between 62 and 64 percent.
Those who fail to survive a match at the championships will be rewarded with a 23,000-pound cheque, up from 14,500 pounds last year.
Even defeat in the qualifying rounds will be tempered by a 41 percent rise with 12,000 pounds going to players who fall at the last hurdle before the main draw.
Presented by Adam Justice