Tributes paid to hero to the tennis set

7:20am Monday 18th March 2013

By Emma Dunn

TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who strung the racquet with which Andre Agassi won the men’s title at Wimbledon in 1992.

John Reynolds, of Old Town, strung up to 30 racquets a day at Wimbledon for 16 years. He also ran a business stringing racquets for people in Swindon.

The 84-year-old died at home with his family on March 5. A service will be held in his memory at Kingsdown Crematorium on Thursday at 10am.

John’s son, Neale, said: “Agassi’s racquet was brought into him in the first week of practice. From then on Agassi wouldn’t have any other stringer apart from my dad. Normally the racquet stringers get a day off but he had to be there right the way through until the final.”

John’s younger son Mike said: “That was the highlight of his stringing. It was the only year Agassi won the men’s title and dad strung his racquet for three weeks straight.”

John was also a tennis player and played at Delta Tennis in Westlea.

An area display supervisor for Radio Rentals until he retired in 1982, he started stringing racquets in 1983 after Neale showed him how to do it. Neale said: “I got a job as a tennis coach and learnt how to string while I was there.

“When I left there I came back to live at home and I told him I knew how to string racquets. He went out and bought a table top stringer and said ‘can you show me how to string?’ I showed him and from there he got more into it and went on a course run by Bow Brand, who were the Wimbledon official stringers at the time.

“They were impressed and asked him to be a Wimbledon stringer.

“From there he was at Wimbledon for 16 years and was also at Stella Artois at the Queen’s Club. They don’t accept any Tom, Dick or Harry. To string at Wimbledon you have to be pretty good.”

John was born in Surrey in 1928. He was a keen percussionist, played drums, vibraphone and glockenspiel across the globe, including on tours on cruise ships and across Australia.

He met his late wife Jean, who died in 1999, when she played the saxophone with his band. They had three children, Jane, 53, Neale, 51, and Mike, 38.

They moved to Swindon in 1970 and lived in North Street before moving to Hesketh Crescent in 1986.

John was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2012.

Anyone who knew him is invited to the service on Thursday. A wake will take place at the Marriott Hotel afterwards.

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