Clare Balding confirmed as Sue Barker’s replacement on BBC Wimbledon coverage

The BBC has confirmed that Clare Balding will succeed Sue Barker as its lead presenter for Wimbledon this summer.

Barker stepped down at the end of last year’s tournament following 30 years covering one of the broadcaster’s flagship events.

Balding, who has worked on Wimbledon for TV and radio since 1995, was the favourite from the start and Barker accidentally let the news slip after receiving the lifetime achievement award at the BT Sport Action Woman Awards last November.

“I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands, it’s absolutely wonderful to leave it with Clare,” said Barker, a former French Open champion and Wimbledon semi-finalist.

Now it has been officially confirmed, Balding said: “It’s a huge honour to be given this responsibility but I am very aware that 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.

“It’s my job to bring out the best in them and to help make our viewers feel they have a front row seat on the greatest sporting stage.”

Balding had presented the evening highlights show from Wimbledon along with other duties, and director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater said: “We are thrilled to announce Clare as our new lead presenter for Wimbledon.

“We know she will combine her passion and knowledge for the prestigious event with the trademark energy and professionalism she brings to both those working alongside her and watching at home, and we look forward to her taking up the new role this summer.”

Former England cricketer Isa Guha will again have a key role in the coverage and will present the start of play each day before Balding takes over.

Barker was lauded by tennis greats and the British public last summer during her final tournament and was in tears on Centre Court after being given a standing ovation during her final broadcast.

This year’s Wimbledon championships begin on Monday, July 3.