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Sports

Wimbledon raises prize money as Nastase faces royal box ban

media Serena Williams will not be at Wimbledon to defend her singles or doubles titles because she is expecting her first child with partner Alexis Ohanian. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

The 2017 victors of the Wimbledon singles titles will pocket 2.6 million euros in prize money, tournament organisers said on Wednesday. That's 10 percent more than Andy Murray and Serena Williams won for taking the men's and women's crowns last July at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in south-west London.

In the last six years the cash pot for the winners at Wimbledon has doubled from 1.3 million euros. The total prize money for 2017 is up by 12.5 percent to 37.4 million euros.

"We are proud of the important leadership role that Wimbledon plays locally, nationally and internationally, and are committed to continuing to secure the future of the Championships, and of our sport, for years to come," said All England Club chairman Philip Brook.

Nastase banned

He also confirmed that the 1972 and 1976 finalist Ilie Nastase will be barred from Wimbledon's royal box this year following the former world number one's behaviour at last month's Fed Cup tie against Great Britain.

Romania team captain Nastase was ejected from his team's match in Constanta after a series of foul-mouthed rants. The 70-year-old was overheard making an apparently racist comment about Serena Williams' unborn baby.

Nastase also asked British captain Anne Keothavong for her hotel room number, verbally abused umpire Jaume Campistol and referee Andreas Egli before swearing at Keothavong and the British player Johanna Konta as he was sent from the court.

The two-time Grand Slam champion was escorted from the venue by security staff and banned for the rest of the tie.

Nastase is awaiting sanction by the sport's governing body, the  International Tennis Federation, after being suspended.

Although Nastase has been a regular alongside celebrities and sporting greats in the prestigious royal box, the All England Club indicated last week that it would not invite him this year.

"What he did, we have to say his actions were not very good. We condemn them," Brook said. "In terms of an invitation to the royal bx he is not going to receive one."

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