Murray assured of lofty seeding
1:17pm Tuesday 29th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Andy Murray's slip to eighth in the men's tennis world rankings will not dent his top-end seeding at Wimbledon, according to tournament bosses.
All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chairman Philip Brook said reigning Wimbledon champion Murray's strong two-year grass court record will keep him among the top seeds.
High-calibre grass exponents like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic can also expect to benefit from Wimbledon's seeding system.
Wimbledon bosses also defended hiking prize money for first-round losers by nearly 15 per cent to £27,000.
Total prize money for Wimbledon has risen by 10.8 per cent from last year to £25million, with the winners of the men's singles and women's singles each taking £1.76million, up from last year's £1.6million.
Brook said current champion Murray is likely to remain among the tournament's top seeds, despite battling for form after persistent back trouble.
"We have a surfaced-based seeding system here at Wimbledon," said Brook.
"So we take the ranking points of each player, and add to that the ranking points they hypothetically received last year on grass, and we add to that 75 per cent of the best-performing tournament in the previous year.
"So to put it into context for Andy Murray, as winner of Queen's last year and winner here last year, and a finalist here in 2012, there will be a significant impact on him.
"There will also be quite a significant impact on Federer and Djokovic; there will be some adjustment."
AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said any Wimbledon qualifier ranks among the sport's world elite and merits increased reward.
Lewis criticised the idea that players would simply be content to take the increased first-round loser pay cheques over battling to progress in the tournament.
"I slightly take issue with the notion that players will turn up and lose," said Lewis.
"I have to make the point that the players have worked hard to get there, either they have have got into the championships through their ranking, so that's 12 months of play before. Or there are some wild cards.
"So to portray it as £27,000 for turning up and doing nothing, I don't think that's valid.
"The other thing that's worth looking at is the cost of the expenses involved in having a trainer and a coach on the tour.
"I'm not saying they are pleading poverty but they aren't making huge sums of money for world-class sportsmen."
Prize money changes also raise the purse for runners-up and semi-finalists by 10 per cent, and the quarter-finalists by 10.2 per cent.
Wimbledon bosses are busy putting the finishing touches to the planning application to build a roof on court number one.
With the application due to be submitted later this year, the aim is to complete the work in time for the 2019 tournament.
The alterations will add 900 extra seats, taking the capacity to 12,400, and the roof will be built from the same materials as centre court, with the same climate-control systems.
Wimbledon will be played on 17 courts in 2014, while renovations to courts 14 and 15 are completed.
A host of stars complained of injuries due to slippery courts last year, but Wimbledon bosses said there is no need to make alterations.
"I think in hindsight that was more of an anecdotal problem over a couple of days, and only one or two players took issue with it," said CEO Lewis.
"Wimbledon is played on a natural surface and of course the conditions change over the duration of the tournament.
"So we don't feel there are any issues to address on that."