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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
10:29 PM Mon, Sept. 24th

Column: Gil Reyes, much more than a fitness coach

Gil Reyes was born in 1952 and is a fitness instructor/coach who today is known for his friendship and personal training for the one-and-only Andre Agassi from 1989 to Andre's retirement in 2006, and still is currently.

It was a chance meeting as Reyes in 1989 was the strength and fitness coach at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.  He helped their basketball team win the 1990 NCAA championship.  Andre met him while working out at the college when off the tour at home, and was in need of a better conditioning coach.

When Agassi came on board with Gil, he could bench press 135 pounds. A few years later he was up to 350 pounds.

But if you've read Agassi's book "OPEN" their relationship became much more than a hired employee to enhance his fitness. So much so that Andre and his wife Steffi Graf in 2001 named their first child Jaden Gil Agassi, after his friend and trainer.

Agassi said in 2005 at the age of 35, "Gil is the reason why I've won more Slams after the age of 29 than I did before.  He's the reason why I'm still out there playing this sport at a time in my life when I can really understand and appreciate it."

Gil is a good listener, sensitive, a note taker, teacher, part philosopher and guru and showed his special client why and how to work out properly.

He grew up in Las Cruses New Mexico, moved to East L.A. and lived life fast and hard on the streets there.  Married with three daughters, Andre becomes the son (18 years younger) he never had.  Gil leaves UNLV to work with Agassi exclusively.  He builds a gym in his garage and the rest becomes history.

Gil currently runs the Gil Reyes Fitness Center in Las Vegas and he and Andre created a line of specialized weight equipment. Gil and Adidas have a contract under which he helps train young athletes, such as Fernando Verdasco, Sorana Cirstea, Sania Mirza and Sam Querrey. The program is officially called the Adidas Player Development program.

It is my humble opinion that Andre Agassi surrounded himself with a man that helped pull all the ingredients together in helping to create not only one of the greatest tennis players of our generation, but a man who learned to become so much more, with and by a mentor who seemed to have the right balance on so many planes - Gil Reyes.

How interesting it is when people come into our lives and help make such a big difference in the outcome of who we become. Mr. Reyes is one of them.

 

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry.  He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@q.com.