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Todd Reid remembered for his big heart

Tears and tributes flowed for former tennis prodigy Todd Reid at a moving memorial service for the one-time Wimbledon junior champion and Davis Cup player.

Todd Reid remembered for his big heart

Tears and tributes flowed for former tennis prodigy Todd Reid at a moving memorial service for the one-time Wimbledon junior champion and Davis Cup player.

TODD REID of Australia in action during his first round match against Vincent Spadea of USA at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London.
TODD REID of Australia in action during his first round match against Vincent Spadea of USA at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. Picture:Photo by Scott Barbou/Getty Images

Todd Reid has been remembered as a big-hearted, selfless person with a zest for life at a moving memorial service in Sydney.

The former tennis prodigy, who navigated through a star-studded draw featuring Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the 2002 Wimbledon junior champion crown, died last week aged 34.


More than 200 family and friends, including Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, packed out the chapel at Matraville, where tears and tributes flowed for a life cut short.

Doctors had marvelled at how Reid fought without complaint during a painful four-month battle with pancreatitis - but his family weren't the least bit surprised.

Reid's mother Sandra and father Bob, who coached the "sporting natural" until he joined the famed Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida at 14, said it was their son's fierce will to win that first stood out.

"He always tried like hell," said ex-Australian captain John Fitzgerald, who picked Reid for his Davis Cup debut as a teenager in 2004.

"Lleyton would bury him in practice - because that's how Lleyton was - but Toddy kept coming back for more."

Reid's tenacity was on full display earlier that year at the Australian Open where the 19-year-old overcame severe cramping and vomiting to guts out a five-set second-round win over Sargis Sargsian and set up a dream Rod Laver Arena showdown with Roger Federer.

But Reid's older sisters Tara and Renee said there was more to him than just being a tennis player.

"Toddy's special qualities as a person far outweighed any of his achievements," Tara said.

His sisters idolised Reid so much that they named him before he was born.

"We were inseparable," said Tara, who recalled dragging Todd around everywhere when he was a toddler learning the game with his oversized racquet.

Blessed with a magnetic personality, Renee remembered a cheeky little brother who always cared for others, even while enduring his own challenges after glandular fever and then crippling injuries forced his retirement from professional tennis at just 21.

Renee said Todd was so kind-hearted he once blew their big shot at winning the Manly Seaside mixed doubles title because he refused to target the opposing female player.

"I said Todd, what are you doing?" she said.

But, memorably, the brother-sister act returned to Sydney's northern beaches a few years later to claim the trophy, despite Reid blowing out a shoe mid-match in the final.

That was Todd Reid, a loveable larrikin who never made much of a fuss about anything.

AAP


AAP




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