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Wimbledon to put roof on No. 1 Court

ESPN staff
April 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Roger Federer beat Andy Murray in the first Wimbledon final to be partially played under the Centre Court roof © PA Photos
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The All England Club has announced plans to build a retractable roof above No. 1 Court in time for the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Once work on the second retractable roof is complete, Wimbledon will have the ability to maintain covered play on both principal show courts in front of over 26,500 spectators when rain stops play on the outside courts.

The Centre Court roof was installed in 2009, three years after work began following the 2006 Championships. The near-15,000 capacity arena was closed for part of the 2012 men's final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Of the other grand slam venues, Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open, already has two show courts with retractable roofs on Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena. Neither the French Open nor the US Open has a roof.

The club has also announced a 40% increase in prize money for this year's championships, with the men's and women's singles champions receiving £1.6 million - up 39% from £1.15m in 2012 - making Wimbledon the richest tournament in the sport.

Players knocked out in the first three rounds of the singles draws will see a steep increase of 60% in 2013, while qualifying prize money has been boosted by 41% and doubles cheques by 22%.

"I would like to thank all those whose contribution to Wimbledon's success both on and off court has today enabled us to announce these significant levels of investment in the Championships," said All England Club chairman Philip Brook.

"For the players, it is a deep appreciation of the demanding nature of professional tennis and the top-quality entertainment they bring, while for the Championships it is about giving all our visitors the finest stage on which to enjoy Wimbledon."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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