Daily Mail

Balding is the new Barker in BBC’s Wimbledon coverage

- By Mike Dickson

THE sizeable task of stepping into Sue Barker’s shoes at Wimbledon has been handed to her long-time colleague Clare Balding.

The BBC confirmed that the 52-year-old will be its lead presenter at this summer’s tournament, replacing Ms Barker, who stepped down last year.

The BBC line-up may include Roger Federer, who has been approached to do some analysis. Ms Balding has covered SW19 in various roles since 1995. She said: ‘It’s a huge honour but 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.’

Ms Balding will be only the fifth main presenter in 50 years, following the lineage of David Coleman, Harry Carpenter, Des Lynam and Ms Barker.

The BBC first broadcast the tournament on television in 1937.

As in 2022, Isa Guha will do the early presenting shift of the daily coverage, before handing over to Ms Balding, right.

But the format is set to be different this year. There will be no separate evening highlights show, with the All England Club focusing on live action for the after-work audience, delaying the start of Centre Court until 1.30pm. There will also be longer breaks between bigger matches.

With Boris Becker unable to enter the UK after his deportatio­n, the BBC is keen to add more star quality and would love to involve Federer in its coverage.

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