Players will receive prize money for just one event.
The All England Club was able to make the payments because it was one of the few sports organizations to have an insurance policy guarding against the tournament being canceled by a pandemic. This allowed the club to recoup about half of what it expected to bring in from this year’s tournament. It reportedly received an insurance payment of around $140 million.
The All England Club also established a $1.5 million fund to support coronavirus relief efforts and donated strawberries, towels and balls that would have been used during the tournament, the first to be canceled since World War II.
“We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking,” Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club, said in a statement. “We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into The Championships 2020.”
While stars such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have vast fortunes thanks to constant success and lucrative sponsorship deals, the sport is filled with players who struggle financially. A 2015 study of players’ finances initiated by the International Tennis Federation found that only the top 160 male professionals and top 150 women turned a profit in 2013. Of the 8,874 male professional players and 4,862 female players in 2013, nearly half did not win any prize money.
The study also found that it cost $160,000 per year, on average, to be a professional tennis player because of expenses such as airfare, hotels, equipment and coaching.