As Wim­ble­don kicks off this week, Sue Barker re­veals her favourite mo­ments from the ten­nis tour­na­ment

TV Times - - News - Nick can­non

from mon­day / BBC1 & BBC2

The sound of rac­quet against ball will be the sound­track of our of­fice as we keep an eye on Andy Mur­ray’s progress. Sue Barker heads the team at the BBC for its 90th year of cov­er­age.

Sue Barker reached the semi-fi­nal of Wim­ble­don in 1977, the year the ladies sin­gles ti­tle was fa­mously won by fel­low

Bri­tish star Vir­ginia Wade.

Sadly Sue, 61, never em­u­lated Vir­ginia’s Wim­ble­don vic­tory, but she did go on to be­come a hugely pop­u­lar ten­nis pre­sen­ter, join­ing the BBC’S Wim­ble­don team in

1993 be­fore be­com­ing its main host in 2000, a role she con­tin­ues as the tour­na­ment re­turns this week.

The pre­sen­ter can also be seen in the doc­u­men­tary Our Wim­ble­don, which cel­e­brates 90 years of BBC broad­cast­ing from the tour­na­ment, which started with ra­dio in 1927 and on tele­vi­sion 10 years later.

‘Wim­ble­don is a spe­cial place for me and I feel priv­i­leged to have been a part of it over the years,’ says Sue. ‘I never dreamed when I was com­pet­ing there that I’d one day be in­ter­view­ing the win­ners on Cen­tre Court. I still get goose­bumps when I walk in at the start of a tour­na­ment.’

In the doc­u­men­tary, Sue trav­els around the world to catch up with le­gends of the men’s game, in­clud­ing Bjorn Borg, John Mcen­roe, and cur­rent cham­pion Andy Mur­ray. She’ll also be rem­i­nisc­ing with the women she played against in the 1970s, in­clud­ing Vir­ginia Wade, Martina Navratilova, Bil­lie Jean King and Chris Evert, who she meets at her ten­nis acad­emy in Florida.

‘When I was play­ing, I’d of­ten have din­ner with Chris, Martina and the oth­ers,’ Sue says.

‘Chris was coached by her dad but he wasn’t at ev­ery tour­na­ment with her, Martina was on her own and I was usu­ally on my own, so we’d all so­cialise. Now, the play­ers are sur­rounded by par­ents, coaches, agents, prac­tice partners and so on, it’s so dif­fer­ent.’

Here Sue shares her favourite Wim­ble­don mo­ments…

dream de­but 1976

I’d grown up with Wim­ble­don, so to fi­nally play on Cen­tre Court re­ally was a dream come true. I played the great Maria Bueno from Brazil, who had won the ti­tle three times years be­fore and was mak­ing a come­back. Walk­ing onto that fa­mous court and play­ing such an idol was ter­ri­fy­ing, and the first set, which I lost 6-2, seemed to go by in a haze. But I man­aged to re­lax a bit and even­tu­ally won to cap a very spe­cial day.

Ti­tan tie-break 1980

No Wim­ble­don high­lights list could be com­plete with­out the epic fourth-set tie-break be­tween Bjorn Borg and John Mcen­roe. It was 20 min­utes of un­be­liev­able drama as Mcen­roe saved a clutch of match points be­fore even­tu­ally tak­ing the tie-break 18-16. It must have been such a blow to lose that, but Borg held his com­po­sure to take the fi­nal set and clinch his fifth ti­tle. It’s no won­der that tie-break is one of the most fa­mous sport­ing mo­ments ever.

andy Mur­ray’s his­toric first win 2013

Noth­ing else comes close to the af­ter­noon when Andy Mur­ray ended that 77-year drought for Bri­tish male play­ers. I’d worked on a doc­u­men­tary with Andy and his team be­fore that year’s Wim­ble­don, and knew how much it meant to him, es­pe­cially af­ter los­ing in the fi­nal the pre­vi­ous year. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ner­vous watch­ing some­one serve out a ten­nis match.

su­per st­effi 1988

The 1988 fi­nal saw a pass­ing of the Wim­ble­don torch from Martina Navratilova to St­effi Graf. Martina was go­ing for a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle while the young Ger­man, who would go on to win seven her­self, was look­ing for her first vic­tory. St­effi was still a teenager, but was al­ready the world No 1 and had a boom­ing fore­hand. She won in three sets and went on to win a unique Golden Slam that year, all four ma­jors and the Olympics.

ruth­less roger 2009

Who can for­get Roger Fed­erer’s fi­nal against Rafael Nadal in 2008? The year af­ter that was also truly mem­o­rable when he bounced back from that de­feat to see off Andy Rod­dick 16-14 in the fi­nal set. It was a win that saw him reach 15 Grand Slam ti­tles and move past Pete Sam­pras to be­come the most suc­cess­ful male player in his­tory.

I still get goose­bumps walk­ing into Wim­ble­don

Our Wim­ble­don SUN­DAY / BBC1 / 5.20PM Wim­ble­don Mon-fri / BBC1 & BBC2 / TIMES VARY

Sue’s cov­er­ing Wim­ble­don…

past and present

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