Wimbledon 2019: Andy Murray to be honoured with statue upon retirement

Press Association Sport 08:06 11/07/2019
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Wimbledon are working on a statue of Andy Murray for when he retires, chairman Philip Brook has revealed.

Chief executive Richard Lewis said in January after Murray raised the possibility of his imminent retirement that Wimbledon would honour the Scot in the same way as Fred Perry, whose bust is outside Centre Court.

Speaking to a group of reporters in the All England Club boardroom, Brook said: “What we don’t want to do is retire him too early. Our thought all along is that we want to recognise Andy’s significant achievements here at Wimbledon in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time.

“We think an appropriate time is to unveil something when he retires. We are working on it. We have done some work already on it and there is still more work to do.”

Wimbledon have not yet consulted Murray on the sort of statue he would like, or decided where it will go, with the former world number one hopeful of returning to singles competition soon.

Brook’s time at the helm of the All England Club is definitely nearly up, though, with his nine-year tenure coming to an end in December.

He is proud of the progress he has overseen, listing the installation of the Court One roof, which is being used for the first time this year, the extension of the grass-court season and the purchase of land from the neighbouring golf club as his biggest achievements.

The latter, finally agreed at the end of last year, will treble the size of Wimbledon’s land, and the club have appointed a planning firm to help them shape the future of the tournament.

Brook is also proud of the increase in prize money in his time, saying: “It was £14 million when I first started, it’s £38 million this year. Players may say it’s not enough but it’s grown faster than this business has grown over the past nine years.”

Brook steps down at an interesting time for the sport, with a group on the ATP Player Council, led by Novak Djokovic, looking to challenge the percentage of profits given out in prize money.

They feel the players are not adequately remunerated compared to other sports despite the huge increases paid out by the slams over the past few years.

Brook believes players should appreciate more what they have, saying: “They don’t understand where we’ve come from, and they always want more.

“Generations past who have given up their share of prize money in order to allow events to continue to grow and succeed and make them what they are today. There is this continuous transfer of equity from one generation to the next, which the current generation don’t necessarily always understand.

“Spend more time with Rod Laver, or even Tim Henman actually, and they’d learn things were different, or very, very different, not that long ago.”

Brook will be succeeded by fellow board member Ian Hewitt but voiced his hope that one day this most traditional of establishments will be led by a woman.

“I would love it to have a female chair at some point,” he said. “And similarly a chief executive. It would be a great statement.”

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