Sue Barker calls game, set and match after 30 years of Wimbledon
Sue Barker has announced to retire after 30 years as the face of BBC coverage at Wimbledon.
The presenter, 66, was offered a three-year extension to stay on, but after several months of thinking, she decided it was time to hang up the mic.
Speaking to Mail+ tennis correspondent Mike Dickson, Barker described the role as “my dream job” and said she “loved every minute of it.”
But she felt it was the right time to leave “on my own terms, while I’m still at work.”
Barker also revealed that her mother’s passing earlier this year was a factor in making the choice.
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Sue Barker with Novak Djokovic after winning the men’s singles final in 2018 (left) and 1999 (right)
Wimbledon announce RECORD prize money for next month’s slam at the All England Club with a prize pool of £40.3 MILLION to keep players angry for not having ranking points (and even first-round losers earn £50,000!)
By Mike Dickson for MailOnline
Wimbledon may not get any ranking points this year, but the players will take home more money than ever before.
The All England Club announced on Thursday that the losers of the first round of the singles will earn £50,000 and the champions £2 million each as part of a total prize pool of £40.35 million.
That is an increase of 11.1 percent compared to last year, which was still affected by the pandemic.
It is an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2019, the last year that The Championships were held to a full house.
There has certainly been no downgrade to account for this year’s tournament being stripped of the rankings. That was the sanction of the ATP and WTA Tours for Wimbledon banning players from Russia and Belarus.
The size of the fair will ensure that other no-shows will be small to non-existent, despite this year’s edition not counting towards their rankings unless there is an unexpected turnaround of the tours.
Winners of the men’s and women’s singles at Wimbledon will take home £2million, with the total prize pool rising to a record £40.3million this year (Pictured: Novak Djokovic wins in 2021)
The biggest increase will go to those taking part in the qualifying event, a whopping 26 percent more than last year, which will convince the base to travel to London and try their luck.
Even the humblest qualifier who loses in the first round of the qualifying rounds will be awarded £11,000.
There is also a significant pay increase for those playing in mixed doubles, who will take home an overall raise of 17.6 percent.
The wheelchair tournament is also getting a big boost.
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, commented: “From the first round of the qualifying competition to the crowning of the champions, this year’s prize-money distribution is designed to show how important the players are to the Championships, as we strive to continue to deliver one of the world’s leading sporting events, and with a very special tournament ahead of us as we celebrate 100 years of Center Court on Church Road.”
Wimbledon will not give players ranking points as it stands, due to the All England Club ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing in this year’s championships
Naomi Osaka proved to be one of the most vocal big names to bring out the potential of skipping the grass-court slam, but it’s unlikely that many would make similar comments in light of the prize money surge.
“The decision (about ranking points) affects my mindset to go out on the grass,” said Osaka. “I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going.
“I’d love to go and get some experience on the lawn but at the same time it’s like – I’m not saying meaningless, no pun intended – but I’m the type of player who is motivated by seeing my ranking go up.
“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more of an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels that way. If I think something looks like an exhibition, I just can’t stand it one hundred percent.’
Despite her speech after her departure from the French Open, the former world No. 1 has been included on the entry list.
Naomi Osaka admitted last month that she ‘tends to skip Wimbledon’