Puerto Rican Monica Puig stunned the tennis fraternity when she defeated Angelique Kerber of Germany in the Olympics Tennis Women’s Single Final. The 22 year old produced upsets right throughout the tournament, and capped off the effort with a fabulous gold medal performance. In this article, we look at unknown facts about this player, who has recently risen to prominence.
First Olympic Gold
Puig’s victory at Rio meant that it was Puerto Rico’s first ever gold medal in 68 years of participation and their 9th medal overall. And though most of the medals have been dominated by boxers, the fact that a gold medal winner has come from the tiny country is a very pleasing thought. Puig also became the first player to win a medal for Puerto Rico at the Olympics. Puerto Rico’s previous best result was a silver medal by Jaime Espinal in wrestling at the 2012 London Games.
Nearly missed Qualification
It seemed virtually impossible for Puig to qualify for the Olympics at the beginning of the season. Starting the season from almost outside the Top 100, she had to finish in the Top 56 in the world, to make it to the Grand Stage of the Olympics. And rightly so, a chance to represent her country brought out the best in her. She gave it her all, and made the cut, right before the deadline of Roland Garros. At the Olympics, she gave the performance of a lifetime, beating 3 Grand Slam Champions on the way.
The young Puerto Rican turned pro in 2010. She went on to win her only WTA title prior to the Olympics at Strasbourg in 2014. Her career best ranking in Singles has been World No.33, which she achieved on 11th July, after the Wimbledon Championships 2016 concluded. She has 6 ITF Titles to her belt, a best 4th round appearance at a Grand Slam and a total of three wins against Top 10 Players.
It is remarkable how playing for the country brings out the best in people. Carrying the hopes of a nation so small, Puig has certainly given them a reason to cheer for, and has become a beacon of hope.
Puig was born in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico on September 27, 1993. She was introduced to Tennis by her mother, and she turned pro in 2010. She has an older brother by the name of Ricky. Puig is currently pursuing a degree in Communications from Indiana University East. She is 5ft 7in tall and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Puig is a Catalan name which means that it is pronounced as ‘POOTCH’ rather than ‘POO-IG’.
This rising tennis star is surely set to bring laurels to her country and to the game of tennis. We just hope to see more of her in the future.