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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
By Connie Evans, PA Entertainment Reporter

Sue Barker appears to accidentally confirm her replacement for Wimbledon

Sue Barker appears to have accidentally revealed her Wimbledon replacement (Adam Davy/PA)

Sue Barker may have accidentally revealed her replacement for Wimbledon after accepting an award at the BT Sport Action Woman Awards.

The former professional tennis player and commentator, 66, bid a tearful farewell to Wimbledon earlier this year after 30 years of presenting coverage of the tennis event for the BBC.

After receiving the lifetime achievement award at the Action Woman Awards on Wednesday evening, Barker sat down with fellow sporting broadcaster Clare Balding on stage to discuss her achievements.

During the conversation, Barker said: “I just want to say, leaving Wimbledon, it’s incredibly… I’ve loved it all my life.

“I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands, it’s absolutely wonderful to leave it with Clare” while gesturing towards Balding, 51.

Balding looked somewhat anxious by Barker’s apparent slip-up and bit her lip in response to the comment.

Balding has presented the Today At Wimbledon segment of the coverage – which shows highlights and discussions from the day’s play each evening – since 2015 and has been a favourite to replace Barker since her retirement was announced in June.

If she is indeed officially announced as the new presenter, Balding will follow in the footsteps of just a select few to have presented the Championships’ main show, including David Coleman, Harry Carpenter, Des Lynam and Barker.

Sue Barker appears to have accidentally confirmed Clare Balding as her Wimbledon replacement (Adam Davy/PA)

Before becoming a presenter, Barker played tennis professionally, achieving a Grand Slam singles title after winning the French Open in 1976.

As Barker stepped down from her role of fronting the annual sporting showpiece in July, Balding appeared to choke up as she wished her colleague well from the commentary box along with commentator and former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe.

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“And I think it’s fair to say, we’ve broken her,” Balding said as Barker also broke down in tears.

During the send-off Barker managed to get a couple of sentences out despite her tears, saying: “It’s been an absolute privilege. I’ve loved it. Thirty amazing years. Thank you.”

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