Express Sport readers are divided over who should replace Sue Barker as the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage presenter. The longtime host is due to step down after this year’s tournament at SW19, with the lkes of Clare Balding, Tim Henman and Annabel Croft touted to take his place.
Baker had an illustrious career in broadcasting spanning several decades and she was also a leading hand in the field. She is still the last British woman to win the French Open having done so in 1976, and she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals the following year.
It was announced that she would step down as host of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage last month, prompting talk of who could replace her. Express Sport readers voted on the issue in a recent poll, which produced some interesting results.
Croft, Henman, and Balding received nearly equal numbers of votes, with the latter taking a slight lead. Martina Navratilova received a smaller proportion of the overall tally, with Tracey Austin finishing fifth out of five options offered.
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Like Barker, Croft is another former British women’s tennis star. She enjoyed most of her success on the pitch during the 1980s, reaching the third round at the All England Club in 1984 before retiring as a youth and moving into television.
Henman has long been on the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage as a pundit and has long been Britain’s number one man. He reached the Wimbledon semi-finals four times in five tournaments between 1998 and 2002, climbing to fourth place in the world rankings at the end of that stint.
Balding, meanwhile, has enjoyed a long and varied broadcasting career that includes presenting BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Channel 4 Racing and the Olympics on several occasions. Discussions over who will replace Barker are expected to intensify once proceedings are completed at Wimbledon this weekend.
The 66-year-old was moved to tears this week when John McEnroe paid her a heartfelt tribute on center court, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd. “What a wonderful time I’ve had working on some of the biggest sporting events in the world,” she said in June. “I will miss it terribly, but after 30 years I feel the time has come for me. I have worked with the best of the best.”
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