Monica Puig, the Olympic gold medallist in tennis, announced her retirement on Monday. In an Instagram post, the 28-year-old noted her current string of injuries and subsequent operations as the reason for her decision.
“After a tough 3 year fight with injuries and 4 surgeries, my body had enough,” Puig wrote. “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.”
Puig became the first athlete from Puerto Rico to win an Olympic gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, defeating former major champions Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, and Angelique Kerber on her way to the biggest title of her career.
Puig won one WTA Tour title in Strasbourg, France, in 2014, and also appeared in two more finals. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 in September 2016 and got to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013, her best Grand Slam success.
Puig has been primarily sidelined from action since the start of the 2020 season due to elbow and shoulder problems. In the fall of 2020, she endured her second shoulder surgery, missing the full 2021 season and being unable to defend her Olympic gold title in Tokyo.
In April, she made a brief return in the Madrid Open, losing to Danielle Collins in the first round as a wild card.
“Such a special moment,” Puig tweeted after the match. “It’s been a long road to get back to this point. This is just the first step.”
Puig had not played since retiring in the first set of her first-round match in a 125K event the following week. She was in Paris earlier this month commentating for ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the French Open, and she announced Monday that she will be continuing in that job full-time in the future, as well as working with younger tennis players.
She ended her post by expressing gratitude to Puerto Rico and the sport.
“Puerto Rico, thank you for always supporting me,” Puig wrote in Spanish. “For being my strength and my home. Thank you for bringing me so much joy and love. 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. “Thank you tennis. You have been everything. I owe you my life.”