Sue Barker reveals how going off-script during Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win got her in trouble
Tennis doyenne Sue Barker has recalled how going off-script while interviewing Andy Murray during his 2013 Wimbledon title win got her in a spot of bother with bosses at the All England Club.
The 1976 French Open winner had been the face of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage from 1993 until this year’s grass-court Grand Slam in July as she officially called time on her illustrious broadcasting career after the tournament.
As part of her role as anchor of the public broadcaster, Barker conducted the traditional on-court interviews with both the Wimbledon runner-up and winner.
Murray was the last man standing at Wimbledon 2013 after beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1976 to win his home major.
During an interview with ITV’s Loraine Kelly, Barker explained how her interview with Murray got her in trouble with Wimbledon chiefs.
“I got in awful trouble with Wimbledon, because Wimbledon had asked me, in the early 2000s, to do the on-court interviews and to read out… and you know, I have a little script. It’s very Wimbledon. ‘The winner of the gentlemen’s singles trophy for whatever year it is is so and so’,” she revealed.
“And suddenly, I looked over at Andy and he was crying, and I could hear on Murray Mount the crowd were going mad. There was such a buzz around Centre Court, I said, I can’t just read this. So I said, ‘We’ve waited 77 years for this!’ I just felt it needed something more.
“That was the highlight for all of us. He was amazing. The pressure he was under… I don’t know how he did it.”
There were emotional scenes at Wimbledon in July when the tournament bid farewell to Barker with the likes of Roger Federer, Murray John McEnroe and Billie Jean King paying tribute.
The 66-year-old icon admitted that she would have continued had she been younger.
“I will miss it terribly. I wish I was 30 years younger and starting out,” she said. “I loved the job and I didn’t want to give it up but I felt it was the right time and I could walk out with my head held high, which I was able to do.”
The BBC is yet to confirm who will replace Barker, but the Grand Slam winner herself let slip that Clare Balding is set to take over when she received a Lifetime Achievement award from BT Sport
“Leaving Wimbledon was incredibly rough,” said Barker, adding: “I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands with Clare.”
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