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Nadal acclaimed for support of Wimbledon

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:26

The world number one will pick up £850,000, an increase of £100,000 on last year, if he successfully defends his crown in July and All England club chairman Tim Phillips insists he would be worth every penny.

Phillips believes Nadal has put to shame the players who specialise on clay but dodge the grass court season each year, and said: “It reflects enormous credit on Rafa. One or two others have tended to cop out. They have got disproportionate points on clay and regarded grass as an inconvenience.”

He added: “He’s shown if you can play on clay you can play on anything. I really take my hat off to him. The game at the moment is blessed with some of the ambassadors it has.”

The Wimbledon club chairman also denied there were any plans to rip up the famous grass to fall in line with other Grand Slam surfaces, despite the new retractable roof being used for the first time this year.

Nor are there plans to hold concerts or other events on Centre Court, something which in part has been to blame for the problems with the Wembley pitch.

The fabric and steel concertina roof was unveiled in the closed position for the first time on Tuesday, revealing a light and airy arena.

Phillips said: “The game is lawn tennis. It was invented as lawn tennis. We have got the inclination, the time and the resource to prepare the grass properly.

“In this day and age when players are complaining about the wear and tear of hard courts and there are already a load of tournaments on clay it is important to continue to remember our heritage and support grass.”

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