Tribute: Remembering former President Wayne Reid OBE
A former player who became President of the national body at age 31, Wayne Reid OBE is being remembered for leading Australian tennis through some challenging years.
Known for his tremendous serve, the tennis career of Wayne Reid OBE included a memorable win over Grand Slam champion Rod Laver and multiple appearances in the Australian Championships and at Wimbledon.
But following his passing at age 83, Reid is arguably being best remembered for his dynamic role in steering Australian tennis through the introduction of Open tennis and the challenging years that followed.
Becoming President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australian (the LTAA, which later became Tennis Australia) at just 31 years old in 1969, Reid’s youth helped bridge the generation gap between players and officials.
The forward-thinking Victorian was equally a force in transforming the Australian Championships from an amateur tournament into the professional Australian Open, incorporating important commercial partnerships.
“He introduced professional management of the Australian Open, commercial sponsorship, substantial television coverage, prize money and converted the Australian Open from a moveable tournament to one based in Melbourne,” said Geoff Pollard, who was President of Tennis Australia President from 1989 to 2010, of the earlier President.
Pollard also noted Reid’s role in creating an expanded Australian tournament calendar.
“Significantly, Wayne also recognised the need for a successful lead-in circuit prior to the Australian Open and worked with the State Associations to ensure their tournaments were also successful in this new era of Open tennis,” Pollard commented.
Having given up his championship tennis shortly after 22nd birthday to focus on business interests, the Wesley College-educated Reid remained LTAA President until 1977.
Reid’s influence extended well beyond the game, the Melburnian establishing the Confederation of Australian Sport (now Sport Australia) and serving as its inaugural President.
He also became President of the International Assembly of National Confederations of Sport, Melbourne Football Club and was a founding Director of the Australian Institute of Sport.
A lifetime member of Tennis Australia, Reid was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to tennis administration in 1977 and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1989.
Decades later, the Australian tennis community remains grateful for Reid’s passionate contribution.
As Pollard also noted, “Wayne Reid changed the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia and the Australian Open for the better and forever.”