Players warned over first-round Wimbledon withdrawals

Players beginning and then withdrawing from Wimbledon first-round singles matches could lose their fee, the All England Club has announced.

Richard Lewis at Wimbledon's spring news conference   -  Getty Images

The All England Club (AELTC) has warned players at Wimbledon that they will forego their entire first-round fee if they pull out of a match they should not have entered.

A number of first-round withdrawals at last year's championship led to a desire for a new rule to be set in place, with the "50:50" system to be used this year.

Players are still able to pull out of matches beforehand due to injury or illness and claim half of their fee, but they will lose that right if they opt to play a fixture that they subsequently withdraw from and the AELTC deems that they were not fit to enter.

Presenting this plan at Wimbledon's spring news conference, AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said: "In the wake of last year's first-round withdrawals, we pledged to act on it and we have done so.

"We were very influential in the creation and introduction of the 50:50 rule. We are sure it will play a key role in mitigating the problems of first-round singles retirements."

There is an increase in prize money of at least 10 per cent for every singles player that is knocked out before the quarter-finals, with a smaller rise for those eight elite performers who progress.

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