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Article d'InsideTennis :

Gil Reyes

Serena Williams


An Interview with Agassi Confidant Gil Reyes

Bill Simons caught up with Gil Reyes, perhaps Andre Agassi's closest confidante, after Double-A's emotional loss to German Benjamin Becker at the U.S. Open, the final match of his storied career.  

INSIDE TENNIS: What has Andre showed us here at the Open?
GIL REYES: He's shown us everything he is, the best of him you, his dignity, his competitiveness, style and insight and the New York fans expect and ask him for that. They love and respect him so much.
IT: And this man, in his 21 years - he knows something about stamina and dealing with all the blows.
GR: It all comes down to the circumstances. I am so overwhelmed to how important this is to Andre. It's not about physical fitness and it's not really about the tennis either. It was literally all about Andre, about this time in his life and in his career. It was a time to dig down deep for everything that he had, because he was truly, truly committed to leaving everything out there. More than anything, I'm more proud of him for that.
More than winning the French Open on the clay?
GR: Yes, because it came down to character.
It was Andre's statement.
GR: Yes, of his appreciation and respect. The tennis was sensational, but when you see how important something is to somebody and they are so willing to lay it on the line...It is an honor and a privilege to have worked with him, because nothing is owed to no one. Nothing is promised. Only a few get the opportunity and privilege to give so much to the game. Being good for the game is about a commitment you make by the fire, the passion, the fight. Others will determine whether how good he was for the game. To me being good to the game means respecting what it is, respecting those that played before, those that will play after.
IT: Do you sense that there is a young boy in Topeka or some elderly guy in some hospital who might be inspired by this?
GR: No question, because we talked about that, about him leaving the game with the nobility with which he was inspired and to leave it in good hands. And he believes he has: that somewhere, somebody, some young boy or girl - will see this and say that I sense that one day that will happen for me. I will be ready.
IT: But now it's over. It must be...
GR: It's pretty tough, but we're here. I think we're supposed to say that it's over, it's finished. But he made it. He made it. He went out with his dream in his heart. One of the things that's been so great is that he's been so generous, so willing to give the people all the love, all that respect. He went out that way. He brought everything he could to New York. He left everything he had in New York and he leaves with much. He leaves with more than he ever imagined he would receive.
IT: How has he been such an inspiration?
GR: It's the goodness. It's the fact that people understand that he understands. He's made it very clear that being good for the game is key. People see he's tried his best to help this special game, to take the opportunity in his hands and cherish it, embrace it, respect it. He sets it down on the court for the next generation.
IT: Have you ever heard an athlete speak like Andre did after his loss to Becker?
GR: No. And those words came straight from the heart. I love that so many people connect with his heart and his goodness. Statistics will measure greatness. But his goodness will be measured by the impact he's had on those who've shared his story. I think he stacks up quite high on the list when it comes to goodness.
IT: Have we heard the last of Andre Agassi?
GR: He's worked really hard for his place in this sport, and he earned it. Next is for him to pursue his place in life off court in the same way he did in the sport. I like his chances. He's going in open minded, open eyed, open hearted.
IT: What about all the cortisone shots? Will those take their toll? Will his body recover?
GR: I'm worried, but we don't know. These are uncharted waters, of course. When you combine his age, all the years and effort, two very emotional and physical nights of pouring out literally everything he had within him, everything he could come up wit. When you add that all up, it's going to take a little while to find physical relief, but it was all lost in the moment and I'm proud of the fans for loving him and I'm proud of him for loving them back.
IT: So that long-haired kid ended up being quite an inspiration?
GR: Yes he did. There's no unfinished business between him and this sport, his friends and the fans understand that. It's not so much that they expect it, they sure appreciate it and Andre happens to believe they deserve it.
IT: For Gil Reyes there's sadness, yet peace?
GR: That's well said. That's exactly right. I'm about as sad as you can get, but I feel fulfilled. I feel committed. He was a teenage kid with big eyes, a big heart, a big forehand and big dreams. Somewhere along the line, I was put in position of stepping in right along side him and helping him as he reached for and fought for his dreams and I truly believe I can look back on these years and feel I did my best.
Dernière mise à jour : ( 25-09-2006 )
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