This time it’s over. After a last shortened comeback attempt, Monica Puig definitely puts away the racket at only 28 years old. “From this day on, I am no longer a professional tennis player”announced the Puerto Rican on ESPN, where she has been a consultant for several months.
“In recent years, I have tried to find my best level. I did everything possible, but I got to a point where my body told me to stopshe explains. It’s not really my decision. Tennis is leaving me. My body is no longer capable of being competitive at the level at which we see the best evolve today. I feel like life is taking something very important from me. I lose the thing I love most in the world, but other doors open. »
“I have seen all the colors for two and a half years with three operations. There were a lot of tears, a lot of nights where I thought it was over”
These last three years, Monica Puig has spent them suffering. “I first suffered a compression of a nerve in the elbow (right). Without intervention, it could have caused nerve damage. Then I had a labral tear (right shoulder). Three weeks after stepping back onto the field to try and recover from this injury, I tore my biceps tendon and tore my rotator cuff. I hit a forehand and immediately felt it. I saw all the colors for two and a half years with three operations. There were a lot of tears, a lot of nights where I thought it was over”she said in early May in Madrid.
In Spain, she was making her comeback to competition after a year and a half without a tournament (her last official match dated back to September 2020, a defeat in the first round of Roland-Garros against Sara Errani). Beaten by Danielle Collins, not without having put up a good resistance during a set (7-5, 6-0), Puig, who had been working with French coach Dorian Descloix since the start of the year, saw in it the first step of “the second part of (s) a career ». But the following week, in Saint-Malo, his body gave in again (abandonment in the first round against Fiona Ferro after only three games).
“This gold medal, I always said it was a blessing and a curse. I was 22 years old, I came from nowhere and I was not ready for all this. »
27th in the world at her best ranking (2016), Monica Puig will have marked her sport by offering, to everyone’s surprise, the first Olympic gold medal in the history of Puerto Rico, in Rio in 2016, with prestigious victories against Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and, in the final, Angelique Kerber. “This gold medal, I always said it was a blessing and a curse, she confided in Madrid. It was a period during which I grew up a lot. I matured, I better understood who I was. Looking in the rearview mirror, I’m like, Wow, I’ve been stupid about so many things. I was 22 years old, I came from nowhere and I was not ready for all this. »
And to add: “Today, when I see the difficulties some players are going through, I understand them, but I would like to be able to shake them up and tell them : “It’s not that bad, relax!” “Over the past two years, there have been so many times where I thought I would give anything to just be 50th in the world, or even top 100, and complain, like before, about not being 27th and not winning more of titles. I would like girls to understand and develop it. Enjoy every moment because in the blink of an eye, everything can disappear. »