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Sue Barker holds microphone at wimbledon© Getty

Sue Barker reveals desire to return to Wimbledon as she admits she 'didn't want to leave' the BBC

The former tennis player was the face of BBC Wimbledon for 30 years until 2022

Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
July 8, 2024
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Sue Barker has expressed her desire to return to the BBC as a Wimbledon host, revealing that she "didn't want to leave" when she was ousted from the role two years ago

The 68-year-old former tennis player recently made a surprise appearance at Centre Court for Andy Murray's farewell match at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. 

Sue Barker laughing© Francois Nel
Sue Barker made a return to Wimbledon last week

On arrival, the presenter received a roaring welcome and applause as she came out of retirement to interview an emotional Sir Andy. She told the crowd, "I couldn't miss this. I was not going to miss this, I tell you." 

Since her appearance, Sue has confessed she would love to make a full-time comeback. "Yes, I would. I loved it," she replied when asked by The Mirror if she would ever want to return. 

"I loved the people and I didn't want to leave," she added. "But you start hearing rumours of what is happening and (the BBC) obviously wants the next generation, and when you start hearing those rumours you think, 'Maybe it's time to get out while they still want me rather than being shoved out of the back door.'" 

Sue was the face of the BBC's Wimbledon coverage for 30 years before her departure as the main presenter in 2022. The broadcaster made her hosting debut on BBC Tennis back in 1993, and has since become synonymous with the south London-based tournament. 

Sue Barker working for BBC Sport during her last Wimbledon in 2022© Dave Shopland/Shutterstock
Sue working for BBC Sport during her last Wimbledon in 2022

After stepping down from her role, Sue bid a tearful farewell at the end of Wimbledon 2022. The new line-up of presenters taking the helm this year includes Clare Balding, Qasa Alom and Isa Guha. 

In June, Sue revealed that she decided to leave after discovering that meetings were held at the BBC discussing her replacement. "I just sensed that, as you get older, you've got not many years left," she told The Telegraph. "And when you're hearing that they're having meetings about who's to replace you…" 

The A Question of Sport host explained that despite being offered a contract extension, she wanted to "go out doing the top job". 

Sue Barker embraces Andy Murray© Getty
Sue embraced Andy Murray after his final Wimbledon match

"Although they offered me a contract, I suddenly thought over those three years [on the contract extension], will it be a case of, 'We'll just diminish Sue's role a little so that the transition is slightly easier.' And I didn't want to be diminished," she said. "I'd rather go out doing the top job."

During her send-off, Sue was joined by her successor Clare and tennis legends Billie Jean King, Tim Henman, John McEnroe and Pat Cash, who paid tribute to the presenter as the crowd chanted her name.

A teary Sue told the crowds: "It's been an absolute privilege. I've loved it. 30 amazing years."

Ons Jabeur's tennis career in numbers

Meet tennis player Ons Jabeur 

Date of Birth: 28 August 1994

Place of Birth: Ksar Hellal, Tunisia

Nationality: Tunisian

Profession: Professional Tennis Player

Highest Singles Ranking: No. 2 (achieved on June 2022) Grand Slam Singles 

Performances: Australian Open: Quarterfinalist (2020) French Open: Quarterfinalist (2020 )Wimbledon: Runner-up (2022, 2023) US Open: Runner-up (2022) 

Notable Achievements: First Arab Woman: To win a WTA title (Birmingham Classic, 2021)To reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam (Australian Open, 2020)To reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open

Background and Personal Life: Started playing tennis at the age of three. Trained at the Lycée Sportif d'El Menzah, a national sports high school in Tunisia. Fluent in Arabic, French, and English. Married to Karim Kamoun, a former fencer who also serves as her fitness coach.

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