Wimbledon: Sue Barker in tears after emotional tribute on Centre Court

Wimbledon presenter Sue Barker

Sue Barker was left in tears after she was paid an emotional tribute on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The 66-year-old announced last month she would be stepping down as the BBC’s presenter of Wimbledon, after 30 years covering the Grand Slam.

She was presenting the Centre Court centenary celebrations this afternoon when she was given a standing ovation from the crowd ahead of her retirement.

Barker’s colleague John McEnroe led the tribute, saying: “Sue, one final word. On behalf of all the players, I just want to say that we’re going to be lost without you.

“After 30 years of covering this tournament magnificently, please give it up for Sue Barker.”

A visibly emotional Barker thanked the crowd, before joking that McEnroe would be demoted to the lower courts for “going off script”.

“Thank you so much but this is about the tournament,” she said. “All I can say is from now on John McEnroe is going to be commentating on Court 17 after that, going off script.

“But thank you. That really does mean the world to me.”

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who was also present on Centre Court, was another to pay tribute to Barker.

“You are the very best ever,” she said. “I want everybody out there to know that. I am really upset that you are leaving because you know the game more than anybody and know the people more than anybody.

“You have the appreciation and you just get it. Thank you for everything. Every time you are on television I get up out of my chair and stomp around. I can’t believe you are leaving us.”

BBC presenter Sue Barker

Barker hosted Wimbledon for the first time in 1993, just under 10 years after she played her last match as a professional tennis player.

She has fronted the BBC’s coverage of the Grand Slam ever since, also presenting other shows such as A Question of Sport and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Wimbledon welcomed back its former champions this afternoon as it celebrated 100 years of Centre Court.

Martina Hingis, Marion Bartoli, Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Stefan Edberg, Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova, Chris Evert, Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg joined King to be lauded by the crowd.

Andy Murray, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer also received wild applause.

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