News, Culture & Society

Sue Barker calls game, set and match after 30 years of Wimbledon

Sue Barker has announced her retirement as the face of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage after 30 years. 

The presenter, 66, was offered a three-year extension to stay on, but after several months’ thought she decided it was time to hang up the microphone. 

Speaking to Mail+ tennis correspondent Mike Dickson, Barker described the role as ‘my dream job’ and said she had ‘loved every minute of it’.

But she felt now was the right time to leave ‘on my own terms while I am still on top of the job’. 

Barker also revealed that the passing of her mother earlier this year was a factor in making the choice. 

Read the full story on the Mail+ by clicking HERE. 

Barker in 1999

Sue Barker with Novak Djokovic after he won the Men’s Singles Final in 2018 (left) and in 1999 (right) 

Wimbledon announces RECORD prize money for next month’s slam at the All England Club with a prize pot of £40.3MILLION to keep players angry over no ranking points happy (and even first round losers pocket £50,000!)

By Mike Dickson for MailOnline

Wimbledon this year may be deprived of ranking points, but the players will be taking home more money than ever before.

The All England Club announced on Thursday that first round singles losers will earn £50,000 and the champions £2million each as part of a record overall prize pot of £40.35m.

That represents an 11.1 per cent increase on last year, which was still affected by the pandemic. 

It is a 5.4 per cent increase on 2019, the last year that The Championships was held before full capacity crowds.

There has certainly not been any reduction to take into account that this year’s tournament has been stripped of ranking status. That was the sanction placed by the ATP and WTA Tours for Wimbledon banning players from Russia and Belarus.

The size of the purse 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 U-turn from the tours.

Winners of the men's and women's singles at Wimbledon will pocket £2million, with the overall prize pot increasing to a record £40.3m this year (Pictured: Novak Djokovic winning in 2021)

Winners of the men’s and women’s singles at Wimbledon will pocket £2million, with the overall prize pot increasing to a record £40.3m this year (Pictured: Novak Djokovic winning in 2021)

The biggest rise will go to those playing in the qualifying event, a whopping 26 per cent up on last year, which will persuade the rank-and-file to travel to London and try their luck.

Even the most humble qualifier who loses in the first round of the preliminaries will get £11,000.

There is also a substantial upgrade in pay for those playing in the mixed doubles, who will take home an overall 17.6 per cent increase. 

The wheelchair tournament is another enjoying a substantial boost.

Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, commented: ‘From the first round of the Qualifying Competition to the Champions being crowned, this year’s prize money distribution aims to reflect just how important the players are to The Championships as we look to continue to deliver one of the world’s leading sporting events, and with a particularly special tournament ahead of us as we celebrate 100 years of Centre Court on Church Road.’

Wimbledon will not provide players with ranking points as it stands, due to the All England Club's ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing at this year's championships

Wimbledon will not provide players with ranking points as it stands, due to the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing at this year’s championships

Naomi Osaka proved to be one of the most vocal big names to talk up the potential of skipping the grass-court slam, but it is unlikely many make similar remarks in light of the prize money increase. 

‘The decision (on ranking points) is affecting my mentality going into grass,’ Osaka said. ‘I’m not 100 per cent sure if I’m going to go. 

‘I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, it’s like – I don’t want to say pointless, no pun intended – but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.

‘I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels that way. When I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.’

Despite her talk following her exit at the French Open, the former world No 1 has been included on the entry list. 

Naomi Osaka admitted last month that she has been 'leaning towards' skipping Wimbledon

Naomi Osaka admitted last month that she has been ‘leaning towards’ skipping Wimbledon

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk