John Inverdale replaced by Clare Balding as BBC 5 Live presenter after 'sexist' Marion Bartoli comments

The broadcaster will still take part in the BBC’s coverage, although not in the same role

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The Independent Online

John Inverdale has been replaced by Clare Balding as the BBC’s 5 Live Wimbledon presenter, a year after he made ‘sexist’ comments about Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.

The broadcaster has not been removed from the corporation’s Wimbledon coverage completely, and will continue to present BBC2’s nightly Today at Wimbledon highlights show.

“We have a wide team of talent that work across TV and radio at Wimbledon and John is very much a part of this again this year,” said a spokeswoman for the BBC. “[He] will present the daily highlights programme on BBC2, Today at Wimbledon.”

Last year, Inverdale sparked over 700 complaints after he offered his controversial view on Bartoli, stating that she would have to “compensate” because she was “never going to be a looker”.

He apologised for his comments soon after.

Balding has presented Radio 5 Live before, but “due to other commitments Clare was not part of the Wimbledon team last year“, a BBC spokesperson told the Guardian.

Earlier this week, during a joint interview with Bartoli, Inverdale blamed his less than favourable remarks on terrible hay fever.

 “I was feeling so ill that day, I had terrible hay fever and all I could think of was that I wanted to go home to bed,” he said in a joint interview with Bartoli in the Radio Times.

The pair will sit alongside one another in the commentary box at next week’s French open. Bartoli has no hard feelings over the incident.

“In my mind it was never really a story,” she said. “You have to remember that I had dreamt about winning Wimbledon for 20 years, and all of a sudden my dream was a reality. I was just so happy, I was flying.”