Sports broadcaster Sue Barker awarded a CBE

Former professional tennis player Barker was the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976.

Sue Barker in the royal box of centre court at Wimbledon
Sue Barker in the royal box of centre court at Wimbledon

Presenter Sue Barker has been awarded a CBE in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to sport, broadcasting and charity.

Former professional tennis player Barker, the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976, had previously been made an MBE in 2000 and received an OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours.

“It’s an absolute honour to be awarded a CBE. To have your work recognised in such a way brings such a sense of pride,” Barker said.

“Myself and all my family are thrilled, especially my mum who turns 100 next week.”

Barker, 65, recently ended her long-standing role as presenter of the BBC’s A Question of Sport after 24 years at the helm, having taken over from commentator David Coleman.

The show is set for a new look when it returns to air, with team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell also departing.

At the end of her final episode last month, Barker said: “It’s been such a privilege to sit in this chair for the last 24 years, taking over from David Coleman.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the A Question of Sport team and to Matt and Phil.”

Barker added: “I want to wish the best of luck to the three people taking these seats next.”

Barker is set to continue presenting duties for the BBC’s tennis coverage at Wimbledon, which starts on June 28.

Born and raised in Paignton, Devon, Barker started playing tennis at the age of 10 and moved to the United States as a teenager to further her development.

Barker’s professional career saw her claim 11 WTA Tour singles titles, victory at Roland Garros aged 20 proving the only Grand Slam triumph, as she reached a world ranking of number three.

Britain’s Sue Barker in action at Wimbledon in 1977
Sue Barker in action at Wimbledon in 1977, where she reached the semi-finals (PA)

Success at Wimbledon, though, eluded Barker.

She reached the semi-finals in 1977, but suffered an unexpected loss to Holland’s Betty Stove, who was then beaten by British rival Virginia Wade in the final.

Having battled injury set-backs, Barker retired from playing in 1984 and soon moved into broadcasting, initially for Australia’s Channel 7 and then BSkyB.

Tim Henman and Sue Barker on No.1 court at Wimbledon
Sue Barker has continued to front coverage at the All England Club (Steven Paston/PA)

A switch to the BBC followed to join tennis coverage at the All England Club, with Barker going on to become the anchor presenter.

Barker hosted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards from 1994 until 2012.

She has also been involved across broadcast coverage of racing, athletics, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

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