June 15, 2017
By Becky Randel | March 10, 2017 | People
Monica Puig (here at the women’s singles gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympics) will compete with the world’s greatest tennis players as they vie for millions of dollars in cash prizes at this year’s Miami Open.
Last summer, Monica Puig made history when she won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic medal in any sport, and the first person to ever win gold for Puerto Rico. Raised in Miami, the pro athlete and brand ambassador for Chrysler and AT&T talks to Ocean Drive about winning big and returning home.
How has your life changed since Rio?
I am just very honored and privileged to be in this position. I am also excited that it has given me an even bigger platform to act on, and that it has brought such tremendous happiness to Puerto Rico and its people.
What has the response been like?
Just amazing. We went back to Puerto Rico with my whole team and had an amazing welcome at the airport, a parade, and celebration. In December, I launched the first edition of the Monica Puig Invitational—an annual tennis exhibition in which I will be bringing players to the island to play against, and give the people of Puerto Rico the opportunity to see live tennis and grow the sport.
Are you very strategic about social media?
I use it quite a bit, because I like to keep my fans involved and up to date. I am conscious about [using it] while I am in tournaments and playing, as I want to stay very focused, but it is a great outlet to connect with my fans.
Is winning at the Miami Open one of your 2017 resolutions?
Oh, it sure is! That is my "home tournament," so I am definitely putting that as a big goal. March 20–April 2; 7300 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEAN MOUHTAROPOULOS/GETTY IMAGES