Sue Barker has said she would rather leave Wimbledon on “on her own terms” than be “pushed out the door”, as she alluded to leaving A Question Of Sport after 24 years.
The former professional tennis player, 66, has tearfully bid farewell to this year’s Wimbledon after 30 years of presenting tennis events to the BBC.
It comes two years after the broadcaster announced Paddy McGuinness would take over as host of A Question Of Sport, along with show captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, who were replaced by Sam Quek and Ugo Money.
Barker told Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs: “Matt and Tuffers, we’re like best friends, we’ve had such a relationship and we absolutely love that show.
“We were devastated when it ended but all good things must come to an end. It was not our choice and we knew it would come.
“The way it was handled made me think about Wimbledon and how I’d rather go out on my own than get pushed out the door.
“To be put in a room after 24 years and be told ‘We don’t want you anymore’, I just wish they handled the ending a little better.”
In July, Barker announced his retirement from reporting for Wimbledon.
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“I know it’s going to be sad, I love my job, I love Wimbledon, it’s in my DNA,” Barker said.
“I love the people I work with even more but you just have to pick the right time to go and I just feel like I can walk out with my head held high after 30 great years.”
Devon-born Barker chose Wimbledon’s Parade Of Champions 2022 soundtrack as her first deserted island disc.
Fighting back tears, she told Laverne: “It was amazing and in the end, John McEnroe decided to say ‘well done’ to me for 30 years and the crowd reaction went on and on and let them dedication. I welcome that, I think ‘job done’.
“It was really emotional. I don’t know how I got it together out there. “
To mark Barker’s departure from his role, commentator and former Wimbledon champion McEnroe introduced a film of Barker highlights, featuring many famous faces.
Talking about the dedication, whom her idol Billie Jean King calls her the greatest of all time, Barker said: “I never expect contributions from players of my time and from the present day. .
“It’s amazing, it’s embarrassing, it’s emotional, that’s everything.”
Talking about how SW19 continues to be a part of her life, she added: “I texted Heather Watson, the amazing girl, and I said I would sit down and flirt for your match next year. .
“I would scream at her side telling her all sorts of things.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/sue-barker-i-left-wimbledon-on-my-own-terms-instead-of-being-pushed-out-41999441.html Sue Barker: I left Wimbledon on my own terms instead of being eliminated