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Two weeks of ace tennis returns to SW19


It’s time to serve the strawberries and cream once more, as one of the biggest sporting events in England, and arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, returns in July

At the annual spring press conference, this year’s Wimbledon prize pot was announced as £34 million, with the men’s and ladies winners receiving £2.25 million – a rise of £50,000 on last year. Injured competitors will be able to claim 50 per cent of their first-round money, up to £4,000 to £39,000, if they withdraw on site by the Thursday before the start of the main draw.

The total prize money is more than the 55 million Australian dollars (£30m) offered by the Australian Open in January, but slightly less than the French Open (£35.5m). Last year, tennis fans saw Swiss player Roger Federer become the first man to win Wimbledon eight times, after beating Marin Cilic on Centre Court. However, in order to defend his title, he will need to see off tough competition, including current World No.1 Rafael Nadal, who will be looking to win his third Wimbledon title.

2017 also saw Garbine Muguruza beat Venus Williams in an exciting final to win her first Wimbledon title. The Spaniard, and World No.3, will be hoping to defend her title, with Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki also in contention.

Earlier this year, Kyle Edmund became the 12th British No.1 since the official men’s world rankings were launched in 1973. Since his first Wimbledon appearance last year, Kyle has come far and reached the final of the Australian Open but missed out to Marin Cilic. The 23-year-old will be hoping to go a long way in SW19 this year.

After his major operation earlier in the year, Andy Murray has faced a race against time to challenge for his second Wimbledon title, after famously beating Novak Djokovic in 2013. As Murray has not played professionally since January of this year, the 31-year-old Brit will not be seeded in the top 32, meaning he could potentially be drawn against Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the first round.

However, seven-time champion Serena Williams, who did not defend her 2016 title last year due to pregnancy, believes she should be seeded in the top 32, despite dropping down to 449 in the world rankings. She argues that players returning from pregnancy should have protected seedings as well as protected rankings.

Many people involved in women’s tennis feel players are being penalised for dropping down the rankings, in the same way as injured players, when they take time off to have children. A meeting is due to take place before the tournament gets underway. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chairman, Phillip Brook, said: “It is totally different to an injury and we have empathy and sympathy for the point being made. It is a question we will certainly address.” Wimbledon takes place 2nd-15th July 2018.

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