Sue Barker’s big hint on who will succeed her as BBC’s Wimbledon host
Sue Barker ended her reign as the queen of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage last summer and she appears to have given a big hint about who will take over.
Former French Open champion Barker left her role as the BBC’s anchor amid emotional scenes on the final Sunday of last summer’s tournament.
John McEnroe and Billie Jean King were among those who joined the celebrations for Barker, with speculation over who would fill her seat gathering momentum since that moment.
Former British No 1 Tim Henman was linked with the role, but that will never happen for one of the leading members of the Wimbledon committee.
Now Barker appears to have revealed who will take over from her, as she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by BT Sport.
Respected broadcaster Clare Balding was in conversation with Barker at the awards ceremony, when it seemed she confirmed she will be handing over the BBC baton to a presenter who has been a key part of the Wimbledon coverage for the network in recent years.
“Leaving Wimbledon was incredibly rough,” said Barker, before she added: “I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands with Clare.”
The BBC has yet to make any official announcement on who will take Barker’s player for Wimbledon 2023, with Barker reflecting on her final year in the role with emotion in her voice.
“I’ve had two amazing careers,” she stated. “Tennis was a sport I fell in love with and I never thought it would be a career, then suddenly my hobby became a career.
“That gave me a foothold into broadcasting, which wasn’t easy in the 1990s. There were no women broadcasting and certainly not ex-athletes.
“It was tricky at times and I wasn’t always welcomed at the start, but it was wonderful by the end.”
Barker went on to reflect on the remarkable reception she was given by the Centre Court crowd on the Middle Sunday of Wimbledon last summer, as a parade of former champion turned into a tribute to her.
“It was one of the best moments of my life when that roar went up,” added Barker.
“John McEnroe didn’t turn for the rehearsals and suddenly he took over.
“It was one of the most emotional things that ever happen in my career and I will treasure it forever.
“The more they cheered, the more I cried. And I looked over at Roger Federer and he always reminds me that when he won his first Wimbledon, I made his cry.
“I thought I can’t leave Wimbledon doing a Roger and blubbing myself!”
Barker concluded her heart-warming chat by confirming Federer is her favourite player of all-time, as she concluded: “He even smells nice!”
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