Monica Puig, who won the first Olympic gold medal for Puerto Rico at the Rio de Janeiro Games, announced on Monday her retirement from professional tennis at the age of 28 through a message on her social networks.
Puig made history for the island with her gold in the women’s singles singles in 2016. She also became the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic medal of any color.
“After a tough fight of 3 years with injuries and 4 surgeries, my body can’t take it anymore,” Puig wrote on Monday. “This decision is not easy because I would have loved to retire on my own terms, but sometimes life throws other plans at you and we have to open new doors that lead to exciting possibilities.”
Puig said he will work full time as a commentator for ESPN and will “explore consulting roles with promising young tennis players, as well as with programs and academies.”
He retires after accumulating a record of 303-215 and a singles title in the WTA, apart from the Olympic consecration. The best ranking of hers was her when she reached 27th place in September 2016. She pocketed more than 3.5 million dollars in prize money.
Puig stopped playing during the first set of what would turn out to be her last tournament, last month in France, against Fiona Ferro. She played another official match this season, at the Madrid Open, losing to Danielle Collins.
Aside from those matches, Puig has been out of action since she was eliminated in the first round of the French Open in October 2020.
In June 2021, he announced that he would not be able to defend his Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games and would miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. It was his second operation to repair the rotator cuff and biceps tendon.
Puig also had surgery on his right elbow in December 2019.
In Rio 2016, Puig appeared without being seeded and as number 34 in the ranking. Ella pero ella chained a succession of unexpected triumphs that culminated in a three-set victory over Angelique Kerber — champion of three Grand Slam tournaments — 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the final. She had previously left two other great champions on the way, Petra Kvitova and Garbiñe Muguruza. Puig became the first unseeded woman to win the singles title since tennis returned to the Olympic program in 1988.
“Puerto Rico, thank you for always supporting me. For being my strength and my home. Thank you for bringing me so much joy and love,” Puig wrote. “Listening to our anthem on the podium for the first time in history with a gold medal will always be the most beautiful memory of my life and career.”
Puig’s best Grand Slam result was the fourth round of Wimbledon as a teenager in 2013.
“During the last 28 years of my life, tennis has been my constant. It gave me some of the most exciting and electrifying experiences I could have wished for,” Puig said. “But sometimes good things come to an end.”