Barker spent 30 years as the face of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage but the 66-year-old revealed last summer that she felt the “time is right” to step down after three decades in the role.
After the news was officially confirmed by the BBC on Thursday, 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.
“This will always be a team effort and we’re lucky that the BBC line-up includes former professionals with huge insight as well as wonderful reporters and commentators.
“It’s my job to bring out the best in them and to help make our viewers feel they have a front row seat on the greatest sporting stage.”
Balding was widely tipped to replace her with Barker, who won the 1976 French Open and reached No 3 in the world as a player before making the switch to broadcasting, appearing to confirm as much last November when she said she knew she was leaving coverage “in the safest of hands… with Clare”.
Former cricketer Isa Guha was also said to be in the running to become the anchor and, despite having been pipped to the top job, she will have a significant role in the 2023 coverage after being part of the BBC team last summer.
Guha will present coverage from the start of play before Balding takes over for the primetime afternoon and evening sessions.
The rota is a reflection of the increasingly later days (and nights) at Wimbledon, made possible by the roof and floodlights on Centre Court and No 1 Court. While an 11pm curfew imposed by the local council means late finishes like those seen at the US or Australian Open are not possible, the last match of the day now regularly starts after 6pm and can be held over to the next day.
It means the scheduled 8pm highlights programme, which Balding has presented in recent years, has often fallen victim to live coverage. The BBC is set to overhaul its programming schedule, according to report in The Times this week, after only two episodes of the highlights programmes were televised in full during the busier first week of last year’s Championships.
However, a spokesperson for the BBC said the corporation is “not cancelling the highlights programme” and that a full schedule would be revealed in due course.