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Susan "Sue" BarkerMBE (born 19 April 1956 in PaigntonDevon) 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.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Tennis career

Tennis career[edit]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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] 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 KingEvonne Goolagong CawleyTracy Austin, Virginia Wade, Maria BuenoRosemary CasalsAndrea Jaeger and Pam Shriver.

Barker's forehand was her strongest weapon, with her coach Arthur Roberts describing it as "especially potent".[7] 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.[8]

In 2004, recalling her French Open win of 1976, Barker said: "I'm still incredibly proud of what I achieved."[3]

Major finals[edit]Edit

Grand Slam finals[edit]Edit

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

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1976 French Open Clay [1]

Renáta Tomanová

6–2, 0–6, 6–2

Year-end Championships finals[edit]Edit

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

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

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

Outcome Year Location Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1979 New York City Carpet (I) [3]

Ann Kiyomura

[4]

Françoise Dürr [5]Betty Stöve

7–6, 7–6

WTA Tour Finals[edit]Edit

Singles: 26 (11–15)[edit]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 [6]

Båstad

Clay [7]

Marijve Jansen

6–1, 7–5
Winner 2. 7 July 1975 [8]

Båstad

Clay [9]

Helga Niessen Masthoff

6–4, 6–0
Winner 3. 14 July 1975 [10]

Kitzbühel

Clay [11]

Pam Teeguarden

6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1. 5 November 1975 [12]

Paris

Carpet (I) [13]Virginia Wade 1–6, 7–6, 7–9
Winner 4. 1 December 1975 [14]

Adelaide

Grass [15]

Helga Niessen Masthoff

6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 2. 15 December 1975 [16]

Sydney

Grass [17]

Evonne Goolagong

2–6, 4–6
Runner-up 3. 10 May 1976 [18]

Bournemouth

Clay [19]

Helga Niessen Masthoff

7–5, 3–6, 3–6
Winner 5. 17 May 1976 [20]

Hamburg

Clay [21]

Renáta Tomanová

6–3, 6–1
Winner 6. 31 May 1976 [22]

French Open

Clay [23]

Renáta Tomanová

6–2, 0–6, 6–2
Runner-up 4. 25 November 1976 [24]

Tokyo

Carpet (I) [25]Chris Evert 2–6, 6–7
Runner-up 5. 6 December 1976 [26]

Melbourne

Grass [27]Margaret Court 2–6, 2–6
Runner-up 6. 17 January 1977 [28]

Houston

Carpet (I) [29]Martina Navratilova 6–7(3), 5–7
Runner-up 7. 24 January 1977 [30]

Minneapolis

Carpet (I) [31]Martina Navratilova 0–6, 1–6
Runner-up 8. 21 February 1977 [32]

Detroit

Carpet (I) [33]Martina Navratilova 4–6, 4–6
Winner 7. 28 February 1977 [34]

San Francisco

Carpet (I) [35]Virginia Wade 6–3, 6–4
Winner 8. 7 March 1977 [36]

Dallas

Carpet (I) [37]

Terry Holladay

6–1, 7–6(4)
Runner-up 9. 24 March 1977 [38]

Virginia Slims Championships

Carpet (I) [39]Chris Evert 6–2, 1–6, 1–6
Runner-up 10. 12 December 1977 [40]

Sydney

Grass [41]

Evonne Goolagong

2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 11. 12 March 1979 [42]

Boston

Carpet (I) [43]

Dianne Fromholtz

2–6, 6–7(4)
Runner-up 12. 26 March 1979 [44]

Carlsbad

Hard [45]

Kerry Melville Reid

6–7, 6–3, 2–6
Runner-up 13. 11 June 1979 [46]

Chichester

Grass [47]

Evonne Goolagong Cawley

1–6, 4–6
Winner 9. 10 September 1979 [48]

Pittsburgh

Carpet (I) [49]

Renée Richards

6–3, 6–1
Winner 10. 3 December 1979 [50]

Sydney

Grass [51]

Rosalyn Fairbank

6–0, 7–5
Runner-up 14. 8 December 1980 [52]

Adelaide

Grass [53]

Hana Mandlíková

1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 15. 10 August 1981 [54]

Richmond

Carpet (I) [55]

Mary-Lou Piatek

4–6, 1–6
Winner 11. 19 October 1981 [56]

Brighton

Carpet (I) [57]

Mima Jaušovec

4–6, 6–1, 6–1

Doubles: 30 (12–18)[edit]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 [58]

Rome

Clay [59]

Glynis Coles

[60]Chris Evert

[61] Martina Navratilova

1–6, 2–6
Winner 1. 14 July 1975 [62]

Kitzbühel

Clay [63]

Pam Teeguarden

[64]

Fiorella Bonicelli [65]Raquel Giscafré

6–1, 6–3
Winner 2. 1 December 1975 [66]

Adelaide

Grass [67]

Michelle Tyler

[68]

Kym Ruddell [69]Janet Young

7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 2. 8 December 1975 [70]

Perth

Grass [71]

Michelle Tyler

[72]

Christine Matison [73]Lesley Turner Bowrey

6–7, 3–6
Runner-up 3. 16 August 1976 [74]

Toronto

Clay [75]

Pam Teeguarden

[76]

Cynthia Doerner [77]Janet Newberry

7–6, 3–6, 1–6
Winner 3. 12 October 1976 [78]

Hilton Head Island

Clay [79]

Evonne Goolagong

[80]Martina Navratilova

[81] Virginia Wade

4–6, 6–4, 3–6
Winner 4. 25 November 1976 [82]

Tokyo

Carpet (I) [83]

Ann Kiyomura

[84]

Rosie Casals [85]Françoise Dürr

4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Runner-up 4. 17 January 1977 [86]

Houston

Carpet (I) [87]

Ann Kiyomura

[88]Martina Navratilova

[89]Betty Stöve

6–4, 2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 28 February 1977 [90]

San Francisco

Carpet (I) [91]

Ann Kiyomura

[92]

Kerry Melville Reid [93]Greer Stevens

3–6, 1–6
Runner-up 6. 5 February 1979 [94]

Seattle

Carpet (I) [95]

Ann Kiyomura

[96]

Françoise Dürr [97]Betty Stöve

6–7(4), 6–4, 4–6
Runner-up 7. 19 February 1979 [98]

Detroit

Carpet (I) [99]

Ann Kiyomura

[100]

Betty Stöve [101]Wendy Turnbull

4–6, 6–7(5)
Runner-up 8. 12 March 1979 [102]

Boston

Carpet (I) [103]

Ann Kiyomura

[104]

Kerry Melville Reid [105]Wendy Turnbull

4–6, 2–6
Runner-up 9. 19 March 1979 [106]

Avon Championships

Carpet (I) [107]

Ann Kiyomura

[108]

Françoise Dürr [109]Betty Stöve

6–7, 6–7
Runner-up 10. 2 April 1979 [110]

Tokyo

Carpet (I) [111]

Ann Kiyomura

[112]

Françoise Dürr [113]Betty Stöve

5–7, 6–7
Winner 5. 10 September 1979 [114]

Pittsburgh

Carpet (I) [115]

Candy Reynolds

[116]

Bunny Bruning [117]Jane Stratton

6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 11. 3 December 1979 [118]

Sydney

Grass [119]

Pam Shriver

[120]Billie Jean King

[121]Wendy Turnbull

5–7, 4–6
Runner-up 12. 10 December 1979 [122]

Adelaide

Grass [123]

Pam Shriver

[124]

Hana Mandlíková [125]Virginia Ruzici

1–6, 6–3, 2–6
Winner 6. 11 February 1980 [126]

Oakland

Carpet (I) [127]

Ann Kiyomura

[128]

Greer Stevens [129] Virginia Wade

6–0, 6–4
Runner-up 13. 31 March 1980 [130]

Tokyo

Carpet (I) [131]

Ann Kiyomura

[132]Billie Jean King

[133] Martina Navratilova

5–7, 3–6
Runner-up 14. 8 December 1980 [134]

Adelaide

Grass [135]

Sharon Walsh

[136]

Pam Shriver [137] Betty Stove

4–6, 3–6
Winner 7. 16 February 1981 [138]

Houston

Carpet (I) [139]

Ann Kiyomura

[140]

Regina Maršíková [141]Mary-Lou Piatek

5–7, 6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 15. 23 February 1981 [142]

Seattle

Carpet (I) [143]

Ann Kiyomura

[144]

Rosie Casals [145]Wendy Turnbull

4–6, 1–6
Winner 8. 2 March 1981 [146]

Los Angeles

Carpet (I) [147]

Ann Kiyomura

[148]

Peanut Louie [149]Marita Redondo

6–1, 4–6, 6–1
Winner 9. 4 May 1981 [150]

Tokyo

Carpet (I) [151]

Ann Kiyomura

[152]

Barbara Potter [153]Sharon Walsh

7–5, 6–2
Runner-up 16. 18 May 1981 [154]

Berlin

Clay [155]

Renáta Tomanová

[156]

Rosalyn Fairbank [157]Tanya Harford

3–6, 4–6
Winner 10. 8 June 1981 [158]

Surbiton

Grass [159]

Ann Kiyomura

[160]

Billie Jean King [161]Ilana Kloss

6–1, 6–7, 6–1
Runner-up 17. 3 August 1981 [162]

Indianapolis

Clay [163]

Paula Smith

[164]

JoAnne Russell [165]Virginia Ruzici

2–6, 2–6
Winner 11. 10 August 1981 [166]

Richmond

Carpet (I) [167]

Ann Kiyomura

[168]

Kathy Jordan [169]Anne Smith

4–6, 7–6, 6–4
Winner 12. 11 January 1982 [170]

Cincinnati

Carpet (I) [171]

Ann Kiyomura

[172]

Pam Shriver [173]Anne Smith

6–2, 7–6
Runner-up 18. 15 February 1982 [174]

Houston

Carpet (I) [175]

Sharon Walsh

[176]

Kathy Jordan [177]Pam Shriver

6–7(6), 2–6

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]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]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 Wimbledoncoverage on the BBC and now anchors the two-week-long broadcast for the network.[9] One of the annual features of the coverage sees Barker reminiscing with former rivals Martina Navratilova, Chris EvertPam Shriver, and Tracy Austinduring Wimbledon's rain delays.

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.[7]

Barker has hosted BBC Sport's coverage of the Australian Open, the French OpenQueens Club ChampionshipsEastbourne, 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.[10]

Personal life[edit]Edit

In 1978, Barker broke off an engagement with Australian tennis player Syd Ball. After her engagement was broken off, she had a brief romance with another Australian, golfer Greg Norman.[11]

In the early 1980s, Barker's brief relationship with singer Cliff Richard made headlines.[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 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.[16][17] They live in a mansion in Surrey, which is set in 32 acres of woodland.[18] The couple own several rottweilers.[19]

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".[20]

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.[8]

In 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 shooting at Gio Compario with a large bazooka while wearing a balaclava. Some viewers felt that the advert was offensive and inappropriate.

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