Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig on Monday announced her retirement from tennis, citing injuries as the main reason for her decision.
"It’s not a goodbye, but a see you soon," Puig wrote in her retirement message on Instagram. "Over the past 28 years of my life, tennis has been my constant. It has given me some of the most thrilling and memorable experiences I could have ever asked for. But, sometimes, good things come to an end. Today, I announce my retirement from tennis. After a tough 3 year fight with injuries and 4 surgeries, my body had enough.
"This decision isn’t an easy one because I would’ve loved to retire on my own terms, but sometimes life has other plans and we have to open new doors that lead to exciting possibilities. I would love to also announce that I will be very much active in the tennis world as a new full time member of the ESPN family, along with branching out into many other sports that I am passionate about! I will also be exploring consulting roles for young, up and coming tennis players, as well as with programs and academies."
Puig hit a career-high ranking at No.27 on the Hologic WTA Tour in 2016 and won her sole title on the red clay in Strasbourg in 2014.
The highlight of Puig's career came in her history-making run to Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. At age 22, Puig became Puerto Rico's first Olympic gold medalist with a stunning performance, which included wins against three major champions in Garbiñe Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber in the gold medal match.
"I always said it was a blessing and a curse kind of thing," Puig told reporters last month at the Mutua Madrid Open. "But I think it was just a really good period of growth for me. Growth, maturity, understanding myself, understanding who I am as a person, as a woman, and all of these things.
"Because I look back on it now, and I'm like, 'Wow, I was so stupid for so many things.' But at the end of the day, I didn't know any better. I was 22 years old and kind of came out of nowhere, and I wasn't ready for all of that."
Injuries would derail Puig's career. In 2019, she suffered permanent nerve damage due to a compressed nerve in her elbow. Then came shoulder injuries, which included surgeries for a torn biceps, labrum and rotator cuff. Last month, Puig was finally able to take the court again and compete at the Mutua Madrid Open. In what would end up being her final tour-level match, Puig lost in straight sets to Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins.
Puig ended her Instagram post by thanking her sponsors and supporters. She also left a heartfelt note for the people of Puerto Rico.
"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 wrote in Spanish. She ended her post with a final goodbye to the tennis community.
"Thank you tennis. You have been everything. I owe you my life. Here’s to the next chapter."