Sue Barker

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Sue Barker
MBE
Sue Barker, October 2008.jpg
Country United Kingdom Great Britain
Born (1956-04-19) 19 April 1956 (age 58)
Paignton, Devon, England
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Turned pro 1973
Retired 1984
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Prize money £455,272
Singles
Career record 365–208
Career titles 11
Highest ranking No. 3 (20 March 1977)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1975, 1977 – Dec)
French Open W (1976)
Wimbledon SF (1977)
US Open 4R (1976)
Other tournaments
Championships F (1977)
Doubles
Career record 33–38
Career titles 12
Last updated on: August 15, 2012.

Susan "Sue" Barker, MBE (born 19 April 1956 in Paignton, Devon) is an English television presenter and former professional tennis player. During her tennis career, she won eleven WTA Tour singles titles, including one Grand Slam singles title at the 1976 French Open. She reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3.[1] She is now one of the main sports presenters at the BBC.

Tennis career[edit]

Barker's tennis career began in 1973 and she won her first top-level singles title in 1974. She won three additional titles in 1975. Barker reached her first Grand Slam semi-final in 1975 at the Australian Open. She won the German Open in 1976, beating Renáta Tomanová of Czechoslovakia in the final 6–3, 6–1.

Later in 1976, Barker had the biggest victory of her career by winning the French Open at the age of 20, again defeating Tomanová in the final.[2] Barker's toughest game en route to the final in Paris was her quarter-final match against Regina Maršíková, when Barker came back from a set down and won a gruelling final set 8–6. After her French Open victory against Tomanová, Barker felt that it would be the first of a number of Grand Slam titles that she would win, but she would not reach another Grand Slam final in her career.[2]

In 1977, Barker won two singles titles in San Francisco and Dallas. She beat Martina Navratilova to reach the Virginia Slims Tour Championships final, where she lost in three sets to Chris Evert. Barker reached the Australian Open semi-final for the second time in 1977 and also reached the Wimbledon semi-final that year. She looked set to meet Virginia Wade in the Wimbledon final in 1977, but unexpectedly lost her semi-final against Betty Stöve of the Netherlands, which denied her the opportunity of playing against Wade in an all-British final.[3]

Years later, Barker said that losing to Stöve was the biggest disappointment of her career and admitted that she was so upset at losing in the 1977 Wimbledon semi-final that she could not bear to watch the final, which was won by Wade.[4]

After an injury-plagued 1978 during which her ranking dropped to World No. 24, she won three singles titles and reached three other finals in 1979. She was named the tour's "Comeback Player of the Year" by her fellow professionals.[5] Barker reached one final in 1980 and won the last singles title of her career at the Brighton International in 1981, finishing the year ranked World No. 16. She won her last doubles title in 1982 at Cincinnati, and played her last professional match in 1984.

In all, Barker won 11 singles titles and 12 doubles titles, posting wins over Evert, Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Tracy Austin, Virginia Wade, Maria Bueno, Rosemary Casals, Andrea Jaeger and Pam Shriver.

Barker's forehand was her strongest weapon, with her coach Arthur Roberts describing it as "especially potent".[6] Roberts was a notoriously severe character who very rarely praised Barker. "Everyone was terrified of him", she later said. When she left England to play in tournaments on the Continent, Roberts handed her a one-way ticket only, insisting that she had to earn the fare home.[7]

In 2004, recalling her French Open win of 1976, Barker said: "I'm still incredibly proud of what I achieved."[2]

Major finals[edit]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (1 title, 0 runner–ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1976 French Open Clay Czechoslovakia Renáta Tomanová 6–2, 0–6, 6–2

Year-end Championships finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (0 titles, 1 runner–up)[edit]

Outcome Year Location Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1977 New York City Carpet (I) United States Chris Evert 2–6, 6–1, 6–1

Doubles: 1 (0 titles, 1 runner–up)[edit]

Outcome Year Location Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1979 New York City Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
7–6, 7–6

WTA Tour Finals[edit]

Singles: 26 (11–15)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (1–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–1)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (10–14)
Titles by Surface
Hard (0–1)
Grass (2–5)
Clay (5–1)
Carpet (4–8)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 8 July 1974 Båstad Clay Netherlands Marijke Jansen 6–1, 7–5
Winner 2. 7 July 1975 Båstad Clay West Germany Helga Niessen Masthoff 6–4, 6–0
Winner 3. 14 July 1975 Kitzbühel Clay United States Pam Teeguarden 6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1. 5 November 1975 Paris Carpet (I) United Kingdom Virginia Wade 1–6, 7–6, 7–9
Winner 4. 1 December 1975 Adelaide Grass West Germany Helga Niessen Masthoff 6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 2. 15 December 1975 Sydney Grass Australia Evonne Goolagong 2–6, 4–6
Runner-up 3. 10 May 1976 Bournemouth Clay West Germany Helga Niessen Masthoff 7–5, 3–6, 3–6
Winner 5. 17 May 1976 Hamburg Clay Czechoslovakia Renáta Tomanová 6–3, 6–1
Winner 6. 31 May 1976 French Open Clay Czechoslovakia Renáta Tomanová 6–2, 0–6, 6–2
Runner-up 4. 25 November 1976 Tokyo Carpet (I) United States Chris Evert 2–6, 6–7
Runner-up 5. 6 December 1976 Melbourne Grass Australia Margaret Court 2–6, 2–6
Runner-up 6. 17 January 1977 Houston Carpet (I) Czechoslovakia Martina Navrátilová 6–7(3–7), 5–7
Runner-up 7. 24 January 1977 Minneapolis Carpet (I) Czechoslovakia Martina Navrátilová 0–6, 1–6
Runner-up 8. 21 February 1977 Detroit Carpet (I) Czechoslovakia Martina Navrátilová 4–6, 4–6
Winner 7. 28 February 1977 San Francisco Carpet (I) United Kingdom Virginia Wade 6–3, 6–4
Winner 8. 7 March 1977 Dallas Carpet (I) United States Terry Holladay 6–1, 7–6(7–4)
Runner-up 9. 24 March 1977 Virginia Slims Championships Carpet (I) United States Chris Evert 6–2, 1–6, 1–6
Runner-up 10. 12 December 1977 Sydney Grass Australia Evonne Goolagong 2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 11. 12 March 1979 Boston Carpet (I) Australia Dianne Fromholtz 2–6, 6–7(4–7)
Runner-up 12. 26 March 1979 Carlsbad Hard Australia Kerry Melville Reid 6–7, 6–3, 2–6
Runner-up 13. 11 June 1979 Chichester Grass Australia Evonne Goolagong Cawley 1–6, 4–6
Winner 9. 10 September 1979 Pittsburgh Carpet (I) United States Renée Richards 6–3, 6–1
Winner 10. 3 December 1979 Sydney Grass South Africa Rosalyn Fairbank 6–0, 7–5
Runner-up 14. 8 December 1980 Adelaide Grass Czechoslovakia Hana Mandlíková 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 15. 10 August 1981 Richmond Carpet (I) United States Mary-Lou Piatek 4–6, 1–6
Winner 11. 19 October 1981 Brighton Carpet (I) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Mima Jaušovec 4–6, 6–1, 6–1

Doubles: 30 (12–18)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–1)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (12–17)
Titles by Surface
Hard (0–0)
Grass (2–4)
Clay (2–4)
Carpet (8–10)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 26 May 1975 Rome Clay United Kingdom Glynis Coles United States Chris Evert
Czechoslovakia Martina Navratilova
1–6, 2–6
Winner 1. 14 July 1975 Kitzbühel Clay United States Pam Teeguarden Uruguay Fiorella Bonicelli
Argentina Raquel Giscafré
6–1, 6–3
Winner 2. 1 December 1975 Adelaide Grass United Kingdom Michelle Tyler Australia Kym Ruddell
Australia Janet Young
7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 2. 8 December 1975 Perth Grass United Kingdom Michelle Tyler Australia Christine Matison
Australia Lesley Turner Bowrey
6–7, 3–6
Runner-up 3. 16 August 1976 Toronto Clay United States Pam Teeguarden Australia Cynthia Doerner
United States Janet Newberry
7–6, 3–6, 1–6
Winner 3. 12 October 1976 Hilton Head Island Clay Australia Evonne Goolagong Czechoslovakia Martina Navratilova
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
4–6, 6–4, 3–6
Winner 4. 25 November 1976 Tokyo Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Rosie Casals
France Françoise Dürr
4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Runner-up 4. 17 January 1977 Houston Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura Czechoslovakia Martina Navratilova
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–4, 2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 28 February 1977 San Francisco Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura Australia Kerry Melville Reid
South Africa Greer Stevens
3–6, 1–6
Runner-up 6. 5 February 1979 Seattle Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–7(4–7), 6–4, 4–6
Runner-up 7. 19 February 1979 Detroit Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura Netherlands Betty Stöve
Australia Wendy Turnbull
4–6, 6–7(5–7)
Runner-up 8. 12 March 1979 Boston Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura Australia Kerry Melville Reid
Australia Wendy Turnbull
4–6, 2–6
Runner-up 9. 19 March 1979 Avon Championships Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–7, 6–7
Runner-up 10. 2 April 1979 Tokyo Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
5–7, 6–7
Winner 5. 10 September 1979 Pittsburgh Carpet (I) United States Candy Reynolds United States Bunny Bruning
United States Jane Stratton
6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 11. 3 December 1979 Sydney Grass United States Pam Shriver United States Billie Jean King
Australia Wendy Turnbull
5–7, 4–6
Runner-up 12. 10 December 1979 Adelaide Grass United States Pam Shriver Czechoslovakia Hana Mandlíková
Romania Virginia Ruzici
1–6, 6–3, 2–6
Winner 6. 11 February 1980 Oakland Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura South Africa Greer Stevens
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
6–0, 6–4
Runner-up 13. 31 March 1980 Tokyo Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Billie Jean King
Czechoslovakia Martina Navrátilová
5–7, 3–6
Runner-up 14. 8 December 1980 Adelaide Grass United States Sharon Walsh United States Pam Shriver
Netherlands Betty Stöve
4–6, 3–6
Winner 7. 16 February 1981 Houston Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura Czechoslovakia Regina Maršíková
United States Mary-Lou Piatek
5–7, 6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 15. 23 February 1981 Seattle Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Rosie Casals
Australia Wendy Turnbull
4–6, 1–6
Winner 8. 2 March 1981 Los Angeles Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Peanut Louie
United States Marita Redondo
6–1, 4–6, 6–1
Winner 9. 4 May 1981 Tokyo Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Barbara Potter
United States Sharon Walsh
7–5, 6–2
Runner-up 16. 18 May 1981 Berlin Clay Czechoslovakia Renáta Tomanová United States Rosalyn Fairbank
South Africa Tanya Harford
3–6, 4–6
Winner 10. 8 June 1981 Surbiton Grass United States Ann Kiyomura United States Billie Jean King
South Africa Ilana Kloss
6–1, 6–7, 6–1
Runner-up 17. 3 August 1981 Indianapolis Clay United States Paula Smith United States JoAnne Russell
Romania Virginia Ruzici
2–6, 2–6
Winner 11. 10 August 1981 Richmond Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Kathy Jordan
United States Anne Smith
4–6, 7–6, 6–4
Winner 12. 11 January 1982 Cincinnati Carpet (I) United States Ann Kiyomura United States Pam Shriver
United States Anne Smith
6–2, 7–6
Runner-up 18. 15 February 1982 Houston Carpet (I) United States Sharon Walsh United States Kathy Jordan
United States Pam Shriver
6–7(6–8), 2–6

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Tournament 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 Career SR
Australian Open A 3R SF 2R A SF QF A 3R 3R 1R A A 0 / 8
French Open A A 3R W A A 2R A 1R A A 1R 1 / 5
Wimbledon 2R 1R 3R QF SF 4R 1R 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R 0 / 12
US Open A A 2R 4R 3R A 2R A 2R A A 1R 0 / 6
SR 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 4 1 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 4 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 1 / 31
Career statistics
Year End Ranking 19 10 5 24 10 16 14 62 57 155

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

Broadcasting career[edit]

Upon retiring from tennis Barker became a commentator and sports reporter for Australia's Channel 7 in 1985 before going on to anchor tennis coverage for British Sky Broadcasting in 1990. In 1993, Barker joined the Wimbledon coverage on the BBC and now anchors the two-week-long broadcast for the network.[8]

Barker has branched out since joining the BBC, becoming one of their chief sports presenters and she is currently the presenter of the sports quiz show A Question Of Sport.[6]

Barker has hosted BBC Sport's coverage of the Australian Open, the French Open, Queens Club Championships, Eastbourne, and Wimbledon.

Other sporting events she has hosted have included the Grand National (1996–2006), the Derby (2001–2007), Racing at Ascot and Longchamp (1995–1999), Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, the Great North Run, World Athletics Championships and European Athletics Championships (1999–2009), BBC Sports Personality of the Year (1994-2012), Commonwealth Games (since 1994) and Winter Olympics (since 1994).

In June 1999, she co-presented coverage of HRH Prince Edward's wedding to Sophie Rhys-Jones at Windsor alongside Michael Buerk. Barker had introduced Rhys-Jones to Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son at a charity function a few years earlier.

In 2008, Barker and the BBC extended her contract to cover the London 2012 Olympic Games. It is estimated to be worth £375,000 a year.[9]

In 2014, she was one of the main presenters of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Games.

Personal life[edit]

In 1978, Barker broke off an engagement with Australian tennis player Syd Ball. In an interview the following year, she said: "I realised that Syd wasn't the answer. Underneath, I wasn't happy and I certainly wasn't ready for marriage. I wasn't fair to him or myself."[10] After her engagement was broken off, she had a brief relationship with another Australian, golfer Greg Norman.[10]

In 1982, Barker met singer Cliff Richard. Their romance attracted considerable media attention after Richard flew to Denmark to watch her play in a tennis match and they were later photographed cuddling and holding hands at Wimbledon.[11][12] Richard said in 2008 that he had come close to asking her to marry him. He said: "I seriously contemplated asking her to marry me, but in the end I realised that I didn't love her quite enough to commit the rest of my life to her."[13]

In 1986, after Barker's romance with Richard had ended and she began a brief relationship with tennis player Stephen Shaw, Richard said that he was still a friend of Barker. He said: "We have a mutual respect for each other and that means a lot to me."[14]

In 1988, Richard said of his former romance with Barker: "We were closer than just friends. She's the only person with whom I've had that sort of relationship." He said that one of the things which made up his mind not to marry her was when she got upset because he hadn't told her who he was seeing that day. Richard said: "I suddenly realised that in a marriage you don't live for yourself."[15]

In 1988, Barker married former policeman Lance Tankard.[9][15] They live in a mansion on a 26-acre estate in Surrey.[16] The couple own several rottweilers.[17]

In 1980, Barker was temporarily blinded in her right eye after a large dog in Spain jumped up and bit her. She lost the sight in her eye for five hours and feared that the dog attack would force her to stop playing tennis, which she said "broke her heart".[18]

In an interview in 1999, Barker said that during her tennis career she was approached by a lesbian tennis player in the locker room and touched "in a way that didn't feel right". Barker refused to name the female tennis player involved.[7]

In July 2012, the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK received over 40 complaints for a Go Compare advert that Barker starred in when she was featured firing a large rocket launcher at opera singer Gio Compario (Wynne Evans) in an attempt to kill off the face of the brand. A spokesperson for the ASA said: "Some people think it offensive especially at a time when children are watching. Others think it inappropriate when our security forces are coming under fire on a daily basis. As with all complaints, we are looking into the matter before deciding if we launch a full investigation."[19]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Sue Barker – Speakers Biography". Speakers.co.uk. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Barker recalls her golden moment". BBC Sport. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  3. ^ "Devon - Discover Devon". BBC. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Jon (8 July 2007). "Tennis: Say it's not so Sue". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sue Barker (GBR)". Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "Meet the Question of Sport regulars". BBC Sport. 12 September 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Viner, Brian (24 March 1999). "Barker's happy return to the fore". The Independent (London). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sue Barker". BBC Sport. 30 June 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  9. ^ a b Clout, Laura (9 July 2008). "Sue Barker wins BBC contract to cover 2012 London Olympics". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "A model beauty - That's Sweet Sue". Evening Times. 1 September 1979. p. 3. 
  11. ^ Turner, Steve (2008). Cliff Richard: The Biography. Oxford: Lion. p. 288. ISBN 9780745952796. 
  12. ^ Turner, Steve (2008). Cliff Richard: The Biography. Oxford: Lion. p. 289. ISBN 9780745952796. 
  13. ^ Farmer, Ben (4 September 2008). "Sir Cliff Richard talks of ex-priest companion". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Pearce, Sally (12 January 1986). "Cliff Richard, the pop world's greatest survivor, says....". New Straits Times. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "My lost love, by bachelor boy Cliff". Evening Times. 9 November 1988. 
  16. ^ Roberts, John (31 August 2011). "Tennis Player Profiles: British Champion Sue Barker". Sporting Life. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Viner, Brian (18 June 2005). "Sue Barker: A good sport". The Independent (London). Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  18. ^ "Sue Barker puts tennis in its place". The Miami News. 6 October 1982. 
  19. ^ "Sue Barker Go Compare rocket launcher advert gets complaints". Digital Spy. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
David Coleman
Regular host of A Question of Sport
1997 – present
Incumbent
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mark Nicholas
RTS Television Sport Awards
Best Sports Presenter

2001
Succeeded by
Gary Lineker