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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Josh Salisbury

Sue Barker appears to reveal Clare Balding will replace her as Wimbledon host in gaffe

Sue Barker on centre court at Wimbledon

(Picture: PA Wire)

Sue Barker appears to have accidentally revealed her replacement to host the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon.

The 66-year-old former tennis star has been at the helm of the broadcaster’s coverage for two decades but announced she would stand down earlier this year.

In a gaffe, she appeared to confirm that Clare Balding, who had been hotly tipped to take over, would do so.

Balding, 51, has been a regular tennis commentator as part of her wide-ranging broadcast work.

Barker was presented with the lifetime achievement award at the Action Women Awards on Wednesday by Balding.

While speaking to Balding on stage, she said: "I just want to say, leaving Wimbledon … 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.

“But also Clare, this year at Wimbledon, myself, you and Isa Guha. To have three women presenting Wimbledon for the first time ever.”

Clare Balding (BBC)

The move is yet to be confirmed by the BBC.

During her speech, she also recalled her interviews with Roger Federer, joking that she had promised herself she wouldn’t cry.

“I always ask him ‘What is the best moment of your career?,” she said.

“He said ‘Winning my first Wimbledon, it’s what I dreamed of.’ And he said ‘But you made me cry and all I have is I’m blubbing and that’s all my memory.’

“And I looked at him and I thought I’m not going to do a Roger”.

The BBC have held the rights to air the grand slam for 85 years and will continue to do so until at least 2024 under the terms of the latest agreement.

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