Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, announced her retirement from professional tennis on Monday. The 28-year-old cited her recent string of injuries and subsequent surgeries as the reason for her decision in a post on her Instagram account.
“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.”
During the Rio Games in 2016, Puig became the first athlete representing Puerto Rico to win an Olympic gold medal, defeating former major champions Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber en route to the biggest title of her career.
Puig won one trophy on the WTA Tour at Strasbourg in 2014, and played in two other finals. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 in September of 2016 and had her best result at a Grand Slam by advancing to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2013.
Having struggled with elbow and shoulder injuries, Puig has been mostly sidelined from competition since the start of the 2020 season. She underwent her second shoulder surgery in the fall of 2020 and missed the entirety of the 2021 season, and was unable to attempt to defend her Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
She made a brief return at the Madrid Open in April, losing in the first round as a wild card to Danielle Collins.
“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 retired in the first set of her opening round match at a 125K event the following week and hadn’t played since. She was at the French Open in Paris commenting for ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the event earlier this month, and said she would be continuing in that role on a full-time basis going forward, as well as working with younger tennis players.
She finished her post by thanking 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. “