London, England, 24 April 2013 | AFP

Organisers of the Wimbledon tennis championships have announced a massive hike in prize money for this year’s competition and unveiled plans to build a roof over Court No.1.

The All England Club said the extra STG6.5 million ($A9.7 million) being made available was 40 per cent more than in 2012 and took the total amount of prize money available this year to STG22.6 million ($A33.8 million).

The hike represented “the largest single increase and largest total prize money in the history of professional tennis”, it said on its website.

The increase – and the planned reconstruction work at the fabled grass-court venue in southwest London – follows similar announcements by the three other Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, the United States and France.

Winners of the Wimbledon men’s and women’s events, won last year by Roger Federer and Serena Williams, will each receive STG1.6 million – up STG450,000, or 39 per cent, from last year.

The club said there would also be pay-day increases for players who lose in the early rounds of the competition, which this year runs from 24 June to 7 July.

Singles players who lose in the first three rounds will see their prize money increase by more than 60 per cent, while qualifiers will see a 41 per cent rise.

Those who reach the last 16 will have an average increase of 40 per cent, while doubles players get a 22 per cent rise.

The chairman of the All England Club and The Championships, Philip Brook, said the changes were a reflection of the “deep appreciation of the demanding nature of professional tennis and the top-quality entertainment they bring”.

Separately, the club confirmed it intended to build a second retractable roof on Court No.1. A similar structure has been in place since 2009 on Centre Court and was built as part of a STG100 million overhaul.

Once it is completed by 2019, more than 26,500 spectators will be able to watch play on both courts whatever the weather.

This year, the total prize money on offer at the Australian Open in Melbourne was increased 15 per cent to $A30 million; the US Open purse rose 24 per cent to $A32 million; and last year’s French Open was set at $A28 million, up 16 per cent.

All four tournaments are now undertaking modernisation work.

A first-round loser in the Australian Open this year earned $A28,000 – more than some semifinal spots on the ATP tour.

“Grand Slam tournaments allow us to live,” said French player Mathilde Johansson, currently 80th in the world, who in 2012 earned $A237,000 – $A140,000 of which came from Grand Slams.

“I don’t want to sound crazy but I would like to give a big HUG to @Wimbledon board..exiting (sic) news..thank you very much gentlemen !!” tweeted Sergiy Stakhovsky on his account @Stako_tennis after the Wimbledon announcement.

Stakhovsky, the world number 98, has been vocal in calling for better remuneration for the sport’s journeymen and women.

The Ukrainian has this year won $A152,000 and career earnings of $A2.6 million, according to

In comparison, world number one Novak Djokovic has won $A3.8 million so far in 2013 and $A48.5 million in his career.