Clare Balding to replace Sue Barker as Wimbledon lead presenter

Clare Balding is stepping into Sue Barker’s shoes (Picture: BBC/Jonathan Ford)

Clare Balding will replace Sue Barker as lead presenter of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage, the broadcaster has announced.

The 52-year-old has presented the Today At Wimbledon highlights segment since 2015 and has been a favourite to take over from Barker, 66, since her retirement was announced in June last year.

Balding follows in the footsteps of David Coleman, Harry Carpenter, Des Lynam and Barker in taking up the high-profile role.

She said: ‘It’s a huge honour to be given this responsibility but I am very aware that no one person can fill Sue’s shoes.

‘This will always be a team effort and we’re lucky that the BBC line-up includes former professionals with huge insight as well as wonderful reporters and commentators.

‘It’s my job to bring out the best in them and to help make our viewers feel they have a front row seat on the greatest sporting stage.’

The broadcaster announced her retirement last June (Picture: Getty)

It comes after Barker bid a tearful farewell to Wimbledon at the end of the 2022 event following 30 years of presenting coverage for the BBC.

Balding helped host a celebration of her career and was joined by players such as Tim Henman and Billie Jean King.

Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Rafael Nadal also paid tribute to the former player.

Balding will start in the role this summer when Wimbledon returns to the All England Lawn Tennis And Croquet Club for its 2023 finals.

Balding began her career as a trainee on BBC radio in 1994.

Balding has plenty of Wimbledon experience, having also taken part in coverage in 2022 (Picture: PA)

The BBC said they are ‘thrilled’ to have Balding as Barker’s successor (Picture: Back Page Images/Shutterstock)

She worked for Radio 5 Live as a sports presenter before moving into other areas of factual presentation.

On TV, Balding has won awards for her presenting at the Olympic and Paralympic games.

In November, Barker appeared to accidentally reveal Balding as her successor during a discussion with her at the Action Woman Awards.

During the conversation, Barker said: ‘I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands, it’s absolutely wonderful to leave it with Clare’, while gesturing towards an anxious-looking Balding, who bit her lip.

Wimbledon returns in July (Picture: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said the broadcaster is ‘thrilled to announce Clare as our new lead presenter for Wimbledon.’

‘We know she will combine her passion and knowledge for the prestigious event with the trademark energy and professionalism she brings to both those working alongside her and watching at home, and we look forward to her taking up the new role this summer.’

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Like last year, broadcaster and cricketer Isa Guha will welcome viewers to SW19 each day before start of play.

Balding will then take over coverage later in the day, covering play scheduled in the afternoon and evening.

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