Sue Barker won a Grand Slam title, nearly went blind from a dog bite, became Wimbledon queen, Andy Murray says ‘it’s like talking to mum’ but the legendary broadcaster is now retiring


Wimbledon 2022 will mark the end of an era as Sue Barker steps down after 30 years of hosting television coverage of the tournament.

Barker has been a familiar face to millions through the ups and downs of SW19, from iconic matches and rain delays to British heartbreak and triumph.

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Barker has had his ups and downs at Wimbledon over the past 30 years as a broadcaster

The 66-year-old believes the time has come for her to step down as the face of Wimbledon.

Speaking about his decision, Barker said: “It was my dream job and I loved every minute of it. I’m very happy to be leaving with no regrets.

Barker is not only a brilliant entertainer, she was a phenomenal player in her own right.

The Devon-born tennis star was educated at a convent before turning professional in 1973 and moved to the United States to continue his development.

The famous management company IMG signed her on her 17th birthday and provided her with accommodation in California. His neighbor turned out to be recently retired tennis legend Rod Laver.

In 1975, she won her first singles title and her career trajectory only went up, also reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open the same year.


Barker's crowning glory as a player came at Roland Garros in 1976

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Barker’s crowning glory as a player came at Roland Garros in 1976

The biggest moment of her career came in 1976 when she won the French Open title by beating Renata Tomanova in three sets in the final.

The following year she reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and was expected to advance to the final for a showdown with fellow Brit Virginia Wade.

These plans were canceled however when she unexpectedly lost to Betty Stove and Wade won the title. It was the last time a Briton won a Grand Slam title before Emma Raducanu won the US Open last year.

Barker rose to the top of world number three and won 15 WTA titles during his career before retiring from playing in 1983.

Injuries also played their part and she even thought her career might end in 1980 when she was bitten in the face by a dog.

Barker reached a career high number three in the world

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Barker reached a career high number three in the world

She told the Mail: “I was attacked by a dog in Spain and temporarily blinded in one eye – I thought it would end my tennis career.

“I was quarantined for rabies, had 25 stitches around my eye, cheek and inside my mouth, and had reconstructive surgery. For a long time I was afraid of dogs.

Her personal life attracted considerable media attention during the later years of her playing career as she dated pop star Cliff Richard for a brief period.

Barker quickly moved into broadcasting and began hosting daily Wimbledon highlights on the BBC alongside the late Harry Carpenter.

She then took on the role of main presenter six years later after veteran Des Lynham left.

Barker presented Question of Sport for almost 25 years

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Barker presented Question of Sport for almost 25 years

His broadcasting skills weren’t limited to tennis, however, and hosted the iconic Question of Sport from 1997 to 2021 – alongside famous team captains like talkSPORT’s Ally McCoist.

Her other broadcasting roles have seen her lead coverage of the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships in Athletics, London Marathon, Grand National and Royal Ascot over a long and illustrious career. .

It is at Wimbledon that Barker will always be synonymous as she has lived and breathed the highs and lows with the British public.

His interviews with Andy Murray have become iconic TV moments, from tears in 2012 during the final defeat to the final victory in 2013 and then again in 2016.

Murray paid tribute to Barker ahead of this year’s tournament and admitted he will miss his presence in SW19.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed chatting with Sue. It was like chatting with my mother or almost with a relative,” he said.

Murray paid tribute to Barker ahead of his final Wimbledon

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Murray paid tribute to Barker ahead of his final Wimbledon

“She has this warmth in her. Usually you do TV interviews and it doesn’t always feel the most natural to me. But with her, I almost felt like she was able to make you forget that.

“When I went to the studio at Wimbledon, rather than doing a BBC interview in a studio, she made it more relaxed. It was like you were chatting with someone in the living room.

Wimbledon without Sue Barker will be like the Championships without strawberries and cream, so enjoy the last two weeks while you can.

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