The sky's falling in, the apocalypse is nigh so go and gather two of every animal post-haste. That was the reaction after Brexit - the UK's vote to leave the European Union on Friday - and tennis players were among those cursing the shock result.

Brexit saw stock markets around the world go into freefall, and at one point, the pound dropped to its lowest level in 31 years. That was bad news for those heading to Wimbledon.

ESPN reporter Darren Rovell tweeted that the sterling's devaluation saw the winner's prizemoney drop from $US3 million ($NZ4.2 million) down to US$2.7m (NZ$3.8m).

Now, it's hard to feel sorry for a single person winning $3.8 million instead of $4.2 million, especially when it's likely to be won by a Novak Djokovic or an Andy Murray - both of whom already have exorbitant bank balances - but the pound's plunge actually had a massive impact on lesser known names on the tennis circuit.


It was especially hard on those playing in the final round of Wimbledon qualifying. Qualifiers receive their earnings after getting knocked out, and according to Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, the plummeting pound cost the individual loser NZ$1,636.

Austrian Gerald Melzer started his match on Friday before all the Brexit madness was confirmed, but a rain delay meant he had to come back the following day to complete it. By then, the markets had tumbled and so too did his earnings, with the exchange rate plunge meaning people received far less for their pound.

"A thousand more (euros)," Melzer told the New York Times of the amount of money the rain delay cost him. "Yeah, I knew that, I did. A thousand euros is a thousand euros, it's not like losing €2. So yeah, it hurts."

Belgium's Yannick Mertens also lost on Saturday after his match was delayed by rain, making him another victim of the volatile exchange rate.

"We lose money in one day without doing anything," Mertens told the Times. "For us, it's a bad decision, but there's nothing we can do about it. For sure it's not positive for us."

Players who have to go through qualifying to earn a place in a grand slam are hardly household names, so it's not like they're earning massive dough from sponsorship deals and endorsements like the tour's best players.

For them, Brexit could not have come at a worse time, with warm-up tournaments in England coming to an end and Wimbledon about to start. They'll then move off around Europe before the start of the hardcourt season, but will do so with a much thinner wallet after converting their pounds into euros.

"It's huge, every penny counts at this level," world No. 131 Austin Krajicek said. "The qualies guys, we're not making big money like the top guys, so every dollar counts.

"England is usually pretty expensive with the pound, but yeah, that's tough with the prize money today."

- With AAP