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Sue Barker

From Academic Kids

Sue Barker, born April 19, 1956 in Paignton, Devon, England, is a British television presenter and former tennis champion.

Barker's tennis career began in 1973 winning the senior title in Eastbourne that year as well as the Wimbledon junior title, and followed it up in 1974 with three titles in Bastad, Surbiton and the Austrian Open. She made her first major breakthrough in the Grand Slams at the 1975 Australian Open, reaching the semi-finals. It was in the following year, 1976, that Barker won her biggest title - the French Open at Roland Garros, defeating Renata Tomanova in three sets in the final. At the end of the year Barker was named "Rookie of the Year" by her fellow professionals and her forehand was considered by the other players to be the most powerful on the tour.

In 1977 Barker's good form continued and she was ranked number 4 in the world from March to November of that year. She won titles in San Francisco and Dallas and upset Martina Navratilova to reach the Virginia Slims Championships final. After an injury plagued 1978 which saw her ranking drop to 24, Barker returned to form again in 1979, winning titles in Sydney, Brisbane, Pittsburgh and Manchester and reaching five other finals including in Boston upsetting Chris Evert en route. Her fellow professsionals gave Barker another award at the end of the year - Comeback Player of the Year.

Barker remained solid, if not spectacular, in 1980 and 1981. She reached two finals in 1980 and won the last title of her career at Brighton in 1981, finishing the year ranked 16. The next few years were disappointing however and Barker played her last professional match in 1984

As well as defeating Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (three times), Barker also posted wins over other greats of the game including Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong, Tracy Austin, Virginia Wade, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals and Pam Shriver.

In her private life, Barker was romantically linked with both the singer Cliff Richard and the golfer Greg Norman. She is now married to policeman Lance Tankard.

On retiring from tennis, she became a commentator and sports reporter for Eurosport before going on to anchor tennis coverage for British Sky Broadcasting. In the mid-1990's, 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 Austin during Wimbledon's famous 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 popular sports quiz show, A Question Of Sport.

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