The 2017 season has not been quite as great as Monica Puig wanted. After a memorable triumph at the Olympic Games in Rio last year, a lot was expected from the Puerto Rican No. 1, and she admittedly expected a lot from herself.
Today, Puig lost her first round match against Ajla Tomljanovic after being a set and a break up on two occasions, but she could not recreate the devastating winners and the good play of the first set and a half in the following set and a half. It is about consistency and Puig has struggled for that for a long time.
Puig also opened up about the situation in Puerto Rico after the latest humanitarian disaster struck the Caribbean Island last month. Puig reiterated that losing a tennis match is nothing compared to what is going on in her country:
“It puts a lot into perspective. I haven’t had a good year in tennis but thankfully because of the Olympics it gave me a voice to help Puerto Rico in its time of need. It has gotten a lot of attention since then, also, me losing a tennis match and me being sad over it it’s really small when you compare it to what people are going through over there.
“Tennis is something so little in comparison to the big things happening in the world. You have to realise that after a bad loss like this you have to keep moving forward. I know that I can and I have the ability but for other people it is not so easy to keep moving forward.”
Puig was also asked as to whether her family was directly affected by the disaster and the ongoing aftermath which has followed, where many people are in desperate need of aid. She responded:
“Obviously, I have family that live over there but thankfully they are okay. Me saying they are okay does not mean the situation is very good. I see pictures and videos and the Puerto Rico that I used to know is no longer the Puerto Rico of the present day.
“I don’t recognise the island at all. And that is really sad to see. Again, you can try to put the pieces back together and start where you left off but it is going to be difficult and that is why I’m trying the best I can to get help. I hope we can pick ourselves up and come back stronger from this.”
The extensive help through neighbouring players from the WTA and ATP, most notably Maria Sharapovaand Nick Kyrgios, has had a lasting impact on Puig, who talked about her gratitude and appreciation to the support from many players that are usually on the other side of the net as her opponent on the court:
“It is nice to see how much people actually care. And they are supporting you no matter if you are in the same line of work. People in this line of work tend to keep to themselves.
“It is a very personal sport. The fact that people are opening themselves up and are helping and actually showing a side to them that many people don’t really get to see is really humbling and really nice to see and I am very grateful. It definitely brings everybody closer together.”
The World No.77 will now move on to the tournament in Luxembourg next week, where she will finish her season, looking for a positive result in order to build back her confidence for the 2018 season.
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