In a November 1997 profile for the New York Times, a sports psychologist warned Reid about the pressures of an early athletic career
Todd Reid’s sudden death may have come as a shock to many, but one sports psychologist may have noticed the writing on the wall from early on. Reid died on Tuesday at 34 years old.
When the Australian tennis star was a teenager, Dr. James Loehr warned him about how placing unrealistic expectations and pressures was destined to ruin his athletic potential.
“This has all the earmarks of becoming a catastrophe. It’s way too early to decide if a 13-year-old boy is a phenom or a superstar, and from the outside, it sounds like the parents are leaving their son to the wolves,” Dr. Loehr told the New York Times in a November 1997 profile of Reid.
At age 12, Todd finished as the runner-up in Australia’s National Under-12’s Competition in 1996, according to the publication. Despite the success, Dr. Loehr explained that at such a young age, he felt Todd’s parents should’ve been more focused on his personal development instead of his athletic achievements.
“It would be one thing if he’d been runner-up in the 18’s at 12,” he told the newspaper. “But right now, at this age, the primary concern should be making sure he’s mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. He shouldn’t be a source of income.”
Todd’s parents, however, felt they were doing right by their son to pair him with manager Pete Colbert and get his tennis career off the ground.
“It’s not as if we plucked an agent out of the phone book,” his father Bob Reid told the Times at the time. “We trust Pete, and we believe that if Todd stayed here in Australia, he’d be doomed to mediocrity by the system.”
The 2002 Wimbledon junior singles champion died on Oct. 23, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. His cause of death is not known and there were no suspicious circumstances, according to the publication.
After winning the Wimbledon junior title at 18, Reid turned pro. The athlete was Australia’s No. 3 tennis player for some time, according to the Associated Press.
Reid ranked as high as 105th in the world and made the third round of the Australian Open in 2004, before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer, reported ESPN.
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In a statement shared on Twitter, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club — which hosts Wimbledon — wrote, “The AELTC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Todd Reid, our 2002 boys’ singles champion. The thoughts of all those at Wimbledon are with his family and friends.”
In 2005, Reid’s career was sidelined with injuries and glandular fever before he made comebacks in 2008 and 2014, reported the Herald.