Wimbledon fans beg BBC to replace Clare Balding with Annabel Croft

Wimbledon fans beg BBC to replace Clare Balding with Annabel Croft as lead anchor because ‘she has the knowledge and the expertise’

  • Ms Balding is the fifth main presenter in 50 years, she follows Sue Barker

Wimbledon fans are calling for Annabel Croft, 57, to replace Clare Balding, 52, as the BBC’s lead presenter in the championship’s coverage.

Ms Balding replaced veteran broadcaster Sue Barker after she retired last year, but viewers think tennis star Ms Croft would be a better fit.

And while many admired the current lead host – there were others who thought an athlete who had competed in the sport would be better. 

One Twitter user said: ‘Annabel Croft should be Sue Barker’s replacement, she has the knowledge and experience Clare Balding lacks.’

Another said: ‘I like Clare Balding but I think Annabel Croft would be an excellent anchor going forward. She’s terrific, she has a real warmth about her just like Sue did.’   

When her appointment was announced, Ms Balding said: ‘It’s a huge honour to be given this responsibility but I am very aware that no one person can fill Sue’s shoes.’

Wimbledon fans are calling for Clare Balding, 52, to be replaced

Viewers want Annabel Croft, 57, to take the helm during Wimbledon coverage next year

Ms Balding took over from Sue Barker, who had been in the role for thirty years, following her retirement last year 

 Ms Balding took centre stage at the final where Carlos Alcaraz, 20, beat seven time champion Novak Djokovic. 

But viewers remained unimpressed and continued to call for Ms Croft to be brought in.  

This follows, a BBC decision to put Ms Croft in charge of interviewing the Wimbledon champion and runner-up following the final.  

One Twitter user ‘thanked the Lord’ that it was Ms Croft who was conducting the post-match interviews. 

They added: ‘If the BBC want to know how to solve the Balding Problem, it’s staring them in the face: Annabel Croft. 

‘Infinitely more knowledgeable about tennis and infinitely less irritating.’ 

Another said that Ms Croft had been ‘marvellous’ and said Ms Balding should ‘stick to horses’. 

A scathing review of Ms Balding’s presenting came from one Twitter user. 

First speaking of Ms Croft, then Ms Balding, they said: ‘She has been absolutely incredible and so professional. 

‘So much better than babbling, giggling, not a clue about tennis, Clare Balding. 

‘Please give Annabel the lead in presenting at Wimbledon next year.’

Another user pleaded with the BBC, ‘Whilst Clare is super professional, she hasn’t got the tennis know how, and it must have been awe inspiring to interview so many tennis players and commentators,’ they said. 

‘I wholeheartedly agree Annabel Croft was outstanding, another “Sue”. Please BBC bring Annabell Croft to No. 1.’

Fans are calling for Annabel Croft to replace Clare Balding as the BBC’s lead Wimbledon presenter

Wimbledon fans favour Annabel Croft over Clare Balding as she takes over from veteran broadcaster Sue Barker

 Ms Balding is the fifth main presenter in 50 years, following the lineage of David Coleman, Harry Carpenter, Des Lynam and Barker.

According to the BBC’s published list of salaries, Ms Balding earns between £205,000 – £209,999 a year. 

Ms Croft has long been a fixture in the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage and also covers tennis tournaments around the world. 

During this year’s tournament, the people’s choice Ms Croft has spoken out about AI-generated commentary, branding it an ‘insult’. 

Corporate sponsor IBM has been trialling AI commentary on highlights reels for the Wimbledon website and app.

The former tennis player told Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It’s a race against the robot for your job.’

‘Listening to that, it was very stiff, it was emotionless, no feelings at all. Whoever is taking the decision to put a robot on to commentary and, of course, into the wider context of all jobs in life: this is going to kill humanity.

‘I feel like we all need to throw our phones in the river and stop our brains being overtaken by AI,’ she added. 

Viewers push for BBC to promote former tennis player Annabel Croft to the lead presenter at Wimbledon

Annabel Croft and her late husband Mel Coleman pictured together in 2021

Broadcaster Ms Croft has been praised for her professional performance at Wimbledon following the death of her husband in May. 

She married former professional yachtsman Mel Coleman in 1992.

Mr Coleman, 60, died just a few weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. 

In a statement, Ms Croft said she and the family were ‘completely heartbroken’ by their loss. 

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