Following his win over Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round of the Millennium Estoril Open in Portugal, I had the opportunity to ask Gilles Simon in his post-match press conference about the distribution of prize money at Wimbledon this year, announced by the All England Lawn Tennis Club on Tuesday.
I have produced the transcript of the relevant part of the press conference below, as well as the official Wimbledon press release showing the prize money distribution.
The reason I am producing the transcript is because in my opening question and even in clarification, I did not provide the accurate number for the increase in prize money for the winner (accidentally of course). I did not have the numbers in front of me at the press conference, which is annoying, particularly for a site that prides itself on data accuracy. However, you will see that the number I give in clarification – the number Gilles responds to – is actually lower than the actual increase for the winner. All other numbers are correct.
With the above as a caveat, nonetheless Gilles Simon said that he considers that prize money distribution is “not going in the right direction” and that he is “disappointed”. This supports what this blog has sought to highlight in the last 12 months or so.
*** Transcript ***
AM: Two days ago, Wimbledon announced its prize money for 2016. It includes a 6% rise for the winner and a 3% rise for the first round loser. Difference of £200,000 increase for the winner [the number is £120,000], £1,000 increase for the first round loser. French Open has also announced big prize money although higher percentage rates for the lower rounds. Given the hot topic of prize money inequality at the moment on the ATP tour, did you have any thoughts on Wimbledon’s announcement?
GS: I did not see the exact one, so…give me the number again. I know it’s a £1,000 increase in the first round.
AM: £1,000 increase in the first round and a £112,000 increase for the winner. [Again the number is £120,000.]
GS: In percentage?
AM: 6.4% for the winner, 3.4% for the first round.
GS: OK. Well, I feel it’s not going in the right direction. And I’m also a bit disappointed in a general way, with this [inaudible] with Wimbledon, knowing that they had a nice call just a few weeks ago regarding another tournament. But I mean I know where we are standing with the tournaments. That’s how it is. So we’re gonna take it.
But one more time I think the players should realise a bit more what is happening. And we had a nice negotiation with the slams going in the right direction in the last four years but it seems we’re going back where we don’t want to go. So, I hope the players will be ready to take action if it continues this way. That’s it.
*** End ***