Meet the oldest ball boy at this year’s US Open, serving at age 53. But for Todd Reed his age isn’t the only story.
“During Desert Storm, back in 1991, and I was with 10th Special Forces group, and we were on a reconnaissance mission in northern Iraq, just outside of Mosul,” Reed says. “And I was walking down a dirt path one morning and stepped on a land mine that was buried underneath the ground. It exploded and I lost my right foot.”
So now he does everything, with use of a prosthetic limb. The recently retired undercover narcotics officer is running around with people nearly 40 years younger than him, on 90-degree days.
The grandfather of three explains why he wants to do this.
“I’ve never been one to, you know, use age as an excuse, and even with the hot weather and everything else, it’s the challenge of it,” he said.
“It’s a hard job. Like I’m 14 years old and I can barely keep up with it, but he’s 53 years old,” said a younger ball handler.
Reed actually compares his responsibilities on the court to his experience in the military.
“It reminded me of being in the squad, when I was in the military. You know, you train together and you have this non-verbal communication to where we have to work together as a team to accomplish the mission, and we’re constantly keeping track of the balls, knowing what the players want and you can’t do that with conversation.”
He’s been an inspiration to everybody that he comes across at the tennis center.
“You could tell he had a service record because he had the red, white and blue on his leg. And I said how great is that — it matches the US Open. He’s got the spirit, he’s running around like he’s a 19-year old kid, and you can tell he’s not,” said one fan.
“The fact that he served our country and it’s (blows him a kiss) yeah, God bless,” said another fan.
You can see the complete schedule for the US Open here.