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Wimbledon Prize Money Rises 6 Pct.

April 27, 2000

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Wimbledon increased prize money by 6.1 percent Thursday but stuck to its policy of paying women less than men.

Money for the June 26-July 9 tournament will be just over $12.6 million. The men’s champion will receive $754,450, up from $718,900, and the women’s winner will get $679,400, up from $647,010, All England chairman Tim Phillips said.

Total women’s prize money is going up by 7.9 percent, compared with 4.8 percent for the men.

Phillips said the extra money for the women is directed toward the early rounds of the main draw and the women’s qualifying event, where the field has been increased from 64 to 96 with 12 advancing to the main draw compared with eight previously.

Wimbledon has rejected demands by the WTA Tour for equal pay for men and women. The U.S. Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments with equal prize money.

``If you look around the world at professional sports, you would be hard pressed to find another event where women get paid the same as men, apart from the U.S. Open,″ Phillips said.

WTA Tour chief executive Bart McGuire said he was pleased the women will receive a larger overall increase than the men but that he will continue to press the Grand Slams for equal prize money.

``As the entertainment value, attendance totals, television ratings and overall interest in women’s tennis have soared, the logic behind the equalization of prize money has become increasingly clear,″ McGuire said in a statement.

Phillips said the decision to continue to pay the women less was driven by ``marketplace considerations.″

``We are trying overall to be fair,″ he said. ``We believe where we’ve ended up is fair.″

Before January’s Australian Open, Martina Hingis raised the possibility of a boycott by female players of Grand Slam tournaments unless the pay was equal. However, that threat has not materialized.

Phillips said the prize money for women will be between 80 percent and 90 percent of the men’s total. He also noted that the women champions often take home more than the men because they also compete in doubles.

Asked whether he could forsee the day when the women were paid the same, Phillips said, ``I think it is pretty unlikely in the foreseeable future.″

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