China's Jie to donate Wimbledon prize money

The Chinese tennis player says she will donate a portion of her earnings to earthquake victims in Sichuan province.

updated: July 05, 2008 15:40 IST
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China's Zheng Jie has said she will donate the portion of her Wimbledon winnings to help victims of last month's devastating earthquake in her home at Sichuan province.

But Zheng clamped down quickly on queries as to how much money the first-ever Grand Slam semi-finalist from China must give to the state.

"I will donate all my portion (of the prize money), I want to do as much as I can," said Zheng, who earned her entry as a wildcard.

"I would like to give it all but I have to give some back to the (national) tennis association," added Zheng.

Her contribution should certainly be substantial to efforts to recover from a natural disaster which killed more than 70,000. Zheng has won $374,300 heading into a semi-final with Serena Williams.

Zheng said she hoped to "do more charity work there," in the affected area. "I hope people there will soon have their new homes."

Prices at Wimbledon on the rise

Wimbledon may be adding in a small way to the current world economic jitters by increasing the price of its iconic strawberries for this edition.

The punnet, which is guaranteed to contain ten top class English fruits with cream, has increased to $4.50. The price was finally lifted after five years, with sales during the fortnight seemingly unaffected.

With the completion in 2009 of the Centre court roof, seating capacity has increased from 13,500 to 15,000.

But the British press reports that none of the extra tickets will be going to thousands of faithful everyday punters who camp out each night in the queue for the chance to purchase from a selection of 500 of the elite Centre and No. 1 places.

Instead, Wimbledon is reaping an extra windfall by selling the elite tickets on to "hospitality providers", who entertain corporate fat cats - at a stiff price - at marquees during the fortnight.

Meanwhile, ticket prices themselves have increased, with Centre court men's finals tickets rising to around $181.

While scalping or resale of regular tickets is illegal, that's not the case for debenture tickets, issued to stakeholders who fork over tens of thousands of sterling for future places at the event.

Those tickets have been changing hands - perfectly legally - for up to $2,500 and rising.