Sally Jones was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, and educated at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham and St Hugh's College, Oxford where she read English and won five Blues and Half Blues for different sports including tennis, squash, netball, cricket and modern pentathlon. In 1976, she became a member of Oxford's first women's modern pentathlon side, which defeated Cambridge in the Varsity match at Uppingham School. She performed in various Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) productions and was a member of the Oxford University Broadcasting Society. In 1976, she was Oxford University rock n'roll champion (Oxford Rock Soc) and began tap-dancing with the Oxcentrics jazz band as well as gaining notoriety via a student prank, successfully dressing up as a man to stand for membership of the university's exclusive, all-male Gridiron Club.
She was Warwickshire county (Warwickshire LTA) and British schoolgirls tennis champion (Lawn Tennis Association) and a finalist in the British Under 21 doubles championship (LTA). She played county tennis, squash (Warwickshire, Devon and South Wales squash associations), and netball (Birmingham Schools and Midlands First teams), captaining the Midlands junior netball side, the Oxford University netball (OUNC) and tennis teams (OULTC) and the Warwickshire senior tennis team (WLTA) for ten years, leading them to the County Championship in 1997. She played in the first British Open women's Rackets Championship at Queen's CLub in March 2010, reaching the semi-finals. She won the Sunday Telegraph Travel Writing Prize for an account of a tennis tour of Ireland and two Catherine Pakenham awards for women journalists and has since broadcast and written widely on sport.
Broadcasting and writing career
During her career, she has been a BBC news trainee, a TV reporter at Westward TV in Plymouth, and a TV presenter/reporter for HTV (Wales) where she also made several documentaries, and Central TV in Birmingham where she co-presented Central News and reported on the politics show Central Lobby during the 1980s. She has also reported for ITN and has written newspaper columns for the Daily Mirror and Today newspapers. In 1986, she became the BBC's first woman sports presenter on BBC Breakfast News and presented during the Seoul summer Olympic Games in 1988 and for BBC World during the 1992 Summer Olympics.
She has presented a string of other TV and radio programmes, including several series of "On the Line", the BBC TV sports politics show, the daytime show "The Garden Party", real tennis documentaries for Channel 4, coverage of women's British Open golf (St Mellion, Cornwall), international tennis, women's rugby and NBA basketball (BBC TV), "Transworld Sport" (Channel 4) and international gymnastics (ITV). She regularly presented "Woman's Hour" from Birmingham (BBC Radio 4) and was a member of the Radio Five Live Wimbledon tennis commentary team during the 1990s. In October 2010, she set up Sally Jones Features Ltd, a media consultancy specialising in sport, health, education, news and celebrity features and offering media training for a variety of firms and individuals.
In 1986, she took up Real Tennis and won the world championship at Bordeaux in 1993 (Ladies Real Tennis Association), beating Charlotte Cornwallis in the final, as well as two British Open and two US Open championships. She has won a string of major doubles titles including two world championships with Alex Garside, in 1989 and 1991. She was British Open doubles finalist with Jo Iddles in 2008. She writes on Real Tennis and rackets and has worked as press officer for the Real Tennis and Rackets Association.
She was based in London but now lives in Warwickshire and Birmingham with her family. She married property developer John Grant in 1989 and the couple have two children, Roland, born in 1990 and Madeline, born in 1992. She has written four books on Westcountry legends and several on sport including the Ladybird Book of Riding. In 2006, she co-wrote and edited a prize-winning local history book on Georgian Warwickshire ("Georgian Coleshill"). She works for several charities including Birmingham Children's Hospital and Twycross Zoo and is a Governor of the King Edward's Schools' Foundation in Birmingham.
A quiz enthusiast, she won "Sale of the Century" aged 18 and has since appeared on celebrity editions of "Fifteen to One" and "The Krypton Factor." In September 2008, she appeared on Mastermind, although (as a sports journalist), she could not remember who captained England during the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final, she redeemed herself by winning with a score of 25 points.
- Jason Cowley, The loss of good sports broadcasters, New Statesman, 19 August 2002.
- Sally Jones, Integrating Real Tennis is unnatural: Former world real tennis champion Sally Jones storms one of the last male bastions, The Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2008.