Sue Barker announces retirement from Wimbledon coverage after 30 years with BBC

The TV presenter was the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976.

09 June 2022

Sue Barker will retire as presenter of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage at the end of this year’s tournament, the broadcaster has announced.

The former professional tennis player, 66, said she will “miss it terribly” but after 30 years at the helm of live sports broadcasting feels “the time is right” to take a step back.

The former French Open winner said: “What a wonderful time I’ve had working on some of the biggest sporting events around the world.

“I will miss it terribly but after 30 years I feel the time is right for me. I’ve worked with the best of the best.”

In 2020 Barker stopped hosting BBC’s A Question Of Sport after 23 years, as part of a major shake-up of the TV quiz.

Barker playing at Wimbledon in 1980 (PA)

She left Britain to train in the United States aged 17 and enjoyed a successful playing career, remaining the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976.

She was made a CBE for services to sport, broadcasting and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2021.

Ahead of the investiture in February, she told the PA news agency said she felt “absolutely terrified” about the ceremony with the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle and would “much rather” interview the Wimbledon finalists.

Sue Barker investiture at Windsor Castle
Barker said she was terrified of being given her MBE honour by the Duke of Cambridge (PA)

She has also been honoured for her role as honorary life president of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “Sue Barker has been the face and voice of Wimbledon for three decades.

“Many of our viewers will not know of a summer in SW19 without her. She is a consummate professional, an outstanding presenter and a wonderful colleague, loved by current and former players, all of us at the BBC and audiences across the UK and beyond.

“Her contribution to tennis, the BBC, sports presenting and for blazing a trail for women in broadcasting cannot be overstated. We are looking forward to her leading our coverage, with all the style, warmth and knowledge she has displayed for the last 30 years, and we will say farewell with heavy hearts at the end of the tournament.”

Sue Barker interviews Novak Djokovic after he won the championship in 2018
Sue Barker interviews Novak Djokovic after he won the championship in 2018 (PA)

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, added: “Sue is a national treasure and we’d have loved for her to continue in her role for many years to come.

“We do of course respect her decision and understand why, after 30 years of leading Wimbledon presentation, she’s ready to make this year her last. We thank Sue for the remarkable contribution she has made to sports broadcasting during what has been a truly extraordinary and illustrious career.

“A consummate professional who audiences will remember for her skill, authority and warmth on screen, Sue will be equally remembered with fondness and affection by colleagues who had the privilege to work alongside her, experiencing the same professionalism and warmth behind the scenes.”

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