John McEnroe gets emotional over ‘BBC’s own Roger Federer’ Sue Barker at final Wimbledon

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John McEnroe gave Sue Barker a big hug and lauded her as “the Roger Federer of the broadcasting world” as she hosts her last Wimbledon final on Sunday. Barker is retiring from broadcasting and ending her 30-year long association with the event after Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios compete for the title.

“Before I go I want to give you one last hug Sue,” McEnroe said during the BBC’s Wimbledon final coverage. “Thank you for everything you have been amazing, unbelievable, we are going to miss you. You are like the Roger Federer of the broadcasting world.”

After saluting Barker, McEnroe than admitted he had changed his pick to win the title. “The gods are with Nick,” the American pundit said. “At 27 he finally realises this is a great way to make a living, and now he is making a consistent effort. I’m expecting fireworks in a positive way. I picked Novak before, but just for heck of it, Kyrgios in five.”

McEnroe pleaded with Barker once again to reconsider her retirement as he joked that she needed to stay for one more year, which he also did during the Centre Court centenary celebrations when McEnroe went off-script to tell Barker how much she means to the sport. She dubbed McEnroe as a “naughty boy” for surprising her during the ceremony, to which he replied: “No, no, that was deserved. We couldn’t do one more year?! You are unbelievable.”

McEnroe’s emotional speech at the beginning of the Centre Court centenary celebrations brought Barker to tears. He said: “Sue, one final word. On behalf of all the players, I just want to say that we’re going to be lost without you. After 30 years of covering this tournament magnificently, please give it up for Sue Barker.”

Barker replied: “Thank you so much but this is about the tournament. All I can say is from now on John McEnroe is going to be commentating on Court 17 after that, going off script.”

Barker hosted her first Wimbledon for the BBC in 1993 and has fronted the coverage ever since. She was the first woman to be the lead presenter for a major sporting event on the BBC, and during her retirement announcement in June admitted she “would miss it terribly”.

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