Former British tennis star and expert commentator Sue Barker says that after the current break, she thinks World no. 1 Novak Djokovic may end up with the most Grand Slam singles titles. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Barker says she never thought any player would break Roger Federer’s record but now the Serb looked quite poised to break the all-time record.
“The men’s game is so beautifully poised with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal vying to win the most Grand Slams. Maybe Djokovic now will end up with the most.
I never thought anyone would catch Roger — it’s amazing to think that when he won (Wimbledon) in 2012 that was his 17th, and Novak only had five.” Barker, a former World No 3 and French Open champion in 1976, says she would love to see Serena Williams win her 24th Grand Slam singles title on the women’s side. “It would have been fascinating to see how that developed.
In the women’s game, I do genuinely feel for the first time in years we are seeing a young group who are really going to dominate.
You get the feeling with Coco Gauff and Bianca Andreescu that they are going to become household names, and that is what we need, not just players winning a big tournament and then fading. I would love to see Serena Williams win her 24th (Grand Slam title) because I think she deserves it, but time is ticking on and Wimbledon this summer was a big chance for her, as well as being Roger’s big chance.’ Barker adds that she has been inspired by tennis legend Billie Jean King – one of the pioneering founders of the WTA Tour – without whom she would not have been able to accomplish as much as she did.
“I remember Billie Jean telling me as she was approaching retirement, “You are the next generation and you have to take over and make sure you promote us. If anyone asks for an interview, you just do it. We have to sell it or we won’t have a tour.
I used to play 38 weeks a season as a top-10 player and make about £100,000 per year, so it was very different then. Perhaps other than athletics, tennis has produced more female superstars than any other sport, and a lot of that is down to Billie Jean.
In broadcasting it was the same. She taught me the mentality to go out and do it, and not be afraid to try. Without her I wouldn’t have been able to do so much of what I have managed. I have done every Wimbledon for the BBC since 1993, starting on the highlights show with Harry Carpenter.
Des Lynam was there and I was in awe of working with two legends. It changed my life.’