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 a Grand Slamwomen's singles title at the 1976 French Open and reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3. She is now one of the main sports presenters at the BBC.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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". 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.
In 2004, recalling her French Open win of 1976, Barker said: "I'm still incredibly proud of what I achieved."
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. One of the annual features of the coverage sees Barker reminiscing with former rivals Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Pam Shriver, and Tracy Austinduring Wimbledon's rain delays.
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), Commonwealth Games (since 1994), Winter Olympics (since 1994), and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
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.