“My Last Three Years Have Been Dark” – Olympic Champion Monica Puig Speaks on Her Battle With Depression

Published 03/03/2020, 5:09 PM EST
Monica Puig of Puerto Rico returns to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the gold medal match.


Former World Number 27 Monica Puig will be the defending champion this summer at Tokyo Olympics 2020. Till date, the Olympic Gold medal has been the biggest title of her career and she is the first Puerto Rican athlete to attain that glory.

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However, some time ago life was not easy for Puig, and she opened up upon her battle with depression. “My last three years have been dark. I didn’t have a focus and was very entangled in a lot of things and I neglected myself. I didn’t pay attention to valuable things or those that interested me and just pleasing others,” she told La Nacion, an Argentine daily newspaper.

Since the Rio Games, she hasn’t won any title on WTA Tour, and Luxembourg Open 2017 was her only final appearance,

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Monica Puig

The 26-year-old Monica Puig wasn’t really interested in spending time with her near and dear ones. She preferred staying indoors and disconnected herself from the world outside. 

“I stopped going out with friends and family and was always on the phone and reading comments on social networks, which I did pay attention to and could have fifteen positive messages, but I read only one negative and that sank me. I was too bad,” she added.

Despite all her mental struggles she never really wanted to give up upon tennis, rather she pushed her limits to do her best. “I want to be very sincere because I know that athletes serve as an image for youth and I want them to know that it is not all rosy,” the Puerto Rico native added.

I’m not afraid to compete with anyone” – Monica Puig

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So far in her career, she has just won a WTA title on the singles track. And presently she is ranked 87th in the world. Last year in Wuhan, Puig stunned Angelique Kerber in the opening round. And before that in Charleston, she took out Aryna Sabalenka, Danielle Collins and Sofia Kenin and reached the semifinals. 

When I’m fine, I’m not afraid to compete with anyone. You put Serena Williams in front, I will respect her. But I value myself and I know I can beat her. I believed that in every game I had a chance to win,” Puig added.

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After the Luxembourg Open 2019 in October, Monica Puig underwent elbow surgery and took a break from tennis. Now, she will be remarking her return to the sport at the WTA 125 event in Indian Wells, USA. And she’ll work towards defending her medal in Tokyo. 

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Mahalakshmi Murali

1906 articles

Mahalakshmi Murali joined EssentiallySports in 2018 as a tennis author and has gone on to pen more than 1800 engaging articles, probing into various aspects of the sport and its illustrious players. With her expertise on the sport, Mahalakshmi has interviewed stalwarts from the sport such as Serena WIlliams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou and Kevin Anderson’s physio, Carlos Costa. Equipped with her vast experience and a keen understanding of the sport, Mahalakshmi now co-heads the tennis department.

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