SUE BARKER was in tears as the curtain closed on her brilliant 30-year career in broadcasting.
The BBC showed an emotional montage full of tributes from tennis stars and colleagues after Novak Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios to win his seventh Wimbledon crown.
Former Grand Slam winner Barker – who won the French Open in 1976 and was once ranked No 3 in the world – joined the BBC in 1993.
She has become one of the nation’s most loved TV presenters and revealed earlier this year that she would retire after this tournament.
After hanging up the microphone today, Barker, 66, said: “Ah, this is going to be really embarrassing.
“It has been an absolute privilege. I have loved it, 30 amazing years. Thank you, thank you. I have loved it. I will miss the job. I love it.
“Most of all, I will miss the people I have worked with, in front and behind the camera. you have been absolutely amazing. I am so proud to front the programme. Thank you.”
A crowd who had gathered underneath the BBC’s studio to say goodbye to Barker broke into chants of: “We love you Sue, we do!”
Tennis legend Billie Jean King called Barker “the GOAT” as she stood next to her.
The 12-time Grand Slam winner said: “I think Sue is the best presenter they have ever had, No 1 no matter what. Sue Barker is the GOAT.
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“Men and women, she is an amazing example, if you want to be a presenter, you wan to be the best in the field of broadcasting, Sue Barker. I’ll tell you, she is the GOAT. The best ever.”
In an emotional video shown by the BBC, tennis stars past and present paid tribute to Barker, thanking her for the last 30 years.
SW19 icon Roger Federer gushed: “I would also like to add my biggest congratulations to your wonderful Wimbledon and BBC career. Also, as a player of course, I know how good you were.
“I’m going to look back at the highlights that we shared together; interviews on court, you made me cry, maybe not only once but several times.
He added: “Thank you for everything you’ve done for the game of tennis, to be there, and I don’t know, put tennis in the right place, in a good spot.
“We both love Wimbledon so I’m sure it’s going to be hard for you but I wish you all the very best for the future.
“And again, thank you for those incredible 30 years and everything you’ve done for the game of tennis, I appreciate it and I hope I see you soon. Take care, Sue.”
Andy Murray said: “Hi Sue, I just wanted to send you a message to wish you a happy retirement.
“You’ve been amazing for our sport and I’ve always, well I’ve grown up watching you on the TV, and then obviously I’ve been interviewed by you many times.
“I’ve loved watching you on Question of Sport as well. And yeah, you’re going to be sadly missed by everyone who loves and watches tennis in this country.
“So yeah, we’re all sad about it but yeah, all the best in your retirement.”
Two-time winner Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of this years semi-finals through injury, said: “Thank you for all the great things that you did during all these years.
“We will miss you and wish you all the very best in your future.”
And Martina Navratilova called Barker a “champion” on and off the court, saying: “She was a great champion on and off the court. Whenever she is on the screen, you always feel better.
“When she is on there, she makes you feel better about yourself even when you are not involved, which is pretty magical.
“Sue just took the role and just ran with it. She is giving up the baton but I am not sure anyone can pick it up.”
Laura Robson, who retired from tennis earlier this year, wrote on Twitter: “Sue Barker has been the voice of Wimbledon my entire life. Can’t imagine it without her. The best of the best! Love you Sue!”
Fellow BBC broadcaster John McEnroe had coined Barker as the “Roger Federer of broadcasting” earlier in the day.
After Djokovic overcame Kyrgios in four sets on Centre Court, Barker took her place for the post-match interviews.
And she hilariously reminded the Serbian that it was his wedding anniversary.
Barker’s replacement as the face of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage is yet to be announced.