Image Source: Tennis365
Sue Barker, who has been a regular on the BBC from Wimbledon for the past 30 years after playing there in the 1970s and 1980s, has announced that the men’s final at SW19 next month will be her final appearance on our screens.
The corporation offered Barker, 66, a three-year contract extension to carry on, but the presenter said her choice to retire was influenced by the loss of her mother, Betty, at the age of 100 earlier this year.
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Barker believes the moment is appropriate, having spent the last three decades doing what she loves, her dream job. She considered herself fortunate to have held this career for so long because she never saw herself working for 30 years when she first started out.
Although Barker initially decided to leave in 2017, primarily because the hours were becoming too long and difficult, she decided to stay to see how far she could go, and she believes the time has come for her to leave the stage “on my terms” and, more importantly, to allow others to step up.
According to to BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie, Sue Barker has been the face and voice of Wimbledon for three decades. “So many of our viewers will never remember a summer without her in SW19. She is a consummate professional, an exceptional presenter, and a fantastic colleague, adored by current and former players, all of us at the BBC, and audiences worldwide.
“Her impact on tennis, the BBC, sports presenting, and paving the way for women in broadcasting cannot be emphasized.”
Barker, a former world No. 3 who won the 1976 French Open and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1977, began broadcasting daily Wimbledon highlights in 1993 with the late Harry Carpenter before taking over as lead commentator six years later when Des Lynam retired.
Barker’s laid-back demeanor was excellent for the BBC’s midsummer sporting highlight, but her broadcasting abilities were not restricted to tennis; she was the longest-serving host of the quiz show A Question of Sport, which she hosted for over a quarter-century before retiring last year. In addition, she co-hosted Sports Personality of the Year for 18 years until 2012, and over her long and famous career, she has broadcasted from the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Athletics Championships, London Marathon, Grand National, and Royal Ascot.