Sue Barker quits presenting Wimbledon for BBC after 30 years

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 (PA)
(PA)

Sue Barker has revealed this year’s Wimbledon will be her last as she calls game, set and match on her 30 year tennis broadcasting career.

The former tennis pro has become synonymous with the Britsh tournament but she said she wanted to quit “on her own terms” while she was “still on top of the job”.

She said she had turned down a three-year extension to stay on as lead presenter of the tournament that opens on June 27.

The 66-year-old told Mail +:“Basically I just feel the time is right. It has been my dream job and I have loved every minute of it working so many great colleagues who I am going to miss so much.

“When I started I never thought I would manage 30 years. I had actually made up my mind to leave in 2017 because the hours were becoming very long and quite challenging. That would have been 25 years and seemed a good time, but I am so glad I made the decision to stay on.

“I’m very happy to be leaving with no regrets and on my own terms while I am still on top of the job, it just feels like the right time to go and leave it to others. Queen’s (the pre-Wimbledon event starting next week) has also been a big part of it and it’s a tournament that is very close to my heart.”

Close up: Roger Federer is interviewed by Sue Barker (Corbis via Getty Images)
Close up: Roger Federer is interviewed by Sue Barker (Corbis via Getty Images)

She added the recent death of her mother had contributed to the decision.

During her tennis career, she won 15 WTA Tour singles titles, including a Grand Slam singles title at the 1976 French Open before turning her hand to presenting.

For 24 years she was the presenter of the BBC’s Question Of Sport quiz show but she has announced she was leaving the programme in 2020.

Barker, who took over the lead of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage when Des Lynam left in 1993, was given her CBE for services to sport, broadcasting and charity by the Duke of Cambridge in February.

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.”

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