US Open Tennis ball Boys tryouts
“I had to read [my acceptance letter] twice, ” said Reed, 53, who had never worked the Open before, but made the cut among 400 candidates who tried out for a spot.
But for Reed, a retired police officer originally from Massachusetts, this opportunity strikes another chord. While walking down a dirt path in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Reed stepped on a land mine. As a result, he lost his right foot. But by some miracle and through many surgeries, his leg remained stable. Shortly thereafter he became an Arizona police officer, a job he held until retiring last winter. That’s when he applied through the Wounded Warrior program to try out as a US Open ball person. After proving his expert throwing skills in two tryouts, Reed made the cut.
Thus far it’s been one of the most riveting experiences the veteran has ever undertaken.
“If you don’t get excited when you’re standing on the court and watching the match, ” said Reed, the oldest ball person on this year's team, “then your heart is probably not pumping.”
While Reed has been spotted working in Arthur Ashe Stadium working the court with five-time women's champion Serena Williams and in the Grandstand with 2012 and 2013 US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka, he said he aspires to one day share the court with 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
“He’s always seemed like a very classy player, ” said Reed, who dons an American flag-decorated prosthetic.
When asked what it would feel like if he could be a ball person for a Federer match, Reed seemed at a loss for words. “Oh my goodness, ” he said, “that would be like a dream.”
Some might wonder whether Reed wishes circumstances during his service inthe Army had turned out differently, but he feels blessed with where he now stands.
“I have no regrets whatsoever, ” said Reed, who, alongside Chris Bustamante, is one of two wounded military veterans working as ball persons in this year’s US Open.
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