Let’s do an exercise. I tell you a name and you write the first thing that comes to mind: Monica Puig. If your thinking has been ‘Olympic Games’, ‘Rio 2016’, ‘Gold Medal’ or something like that, then congratulations, we are on the same wavelength. Talking about the Puerto Rican forces us to immediately go back four summers and get excited with her triumph in Brazil, hanging a historic gold for her country. A player who will go down in history for that tournament, although she does not settle for that. In a chat with ITF, the Puerto Rican player points out her desire to repeat a similar experience in Tokyo, citing that due to the coronavirus she has had to be postponed to 2021.
“I loved having that experience in my first Olympic Games,” says the one from San Juan at the beginning of the interview, with the classic emotion that always attracts remembering your greatest achievement as a professional. “Winning the medal was somewhat surreal, just the fact of being part of all those experiences, knowing that it is one of the biggest celebrations of sport in the world … I still get goosebumps just thinking about it”, Maintains the current Nº90 of the world ranking.
It is usual, when it comes to asking both men and women about their best memories in the elite, that most refer to an Olympic Games, regardless of the result obtained at the event. “There are many precious moments to witness, for example, the opening ceremony, all the people who were there and how the emotions were increasing. I really loved discovering every corner of Rio, not just winning, although obviously winning was a huge thing. ”
Puig, who reached Brazil outside the top30, ended up hanging the brightest metal of all after pushing away such dangerous rivals as Muguruza, Kvitova or Kerber herself in the final. That brooch was forever engraved on her head, being labeled as an Olympic tennis player for life. “I was hoping to have those same experiences this summer in Tokyo, but I have no choice but to wait until next year to relive some of those incredible memories again. It is a totally different scenario because these Olympics will be in Asia, the experience will be totally different”, Values the 26-year-old.
It will be five seasons without enjoying an Olympic Games although, as much as it hurts us, at these difficult times the priorities have changed. COVID-19 has modified our plans, but all athletes are already psyched up on the new dates. “Japan is beautiful and Tokyo is an amazing city, I am really interested to see how everything will be there. Rio always had that Latin flavor, so I am really excited to see how things happen in Tokyo and to finally experience my second Olympics, it will be something unforgettable ”, sentences the woman who must defend her title in twelve months.