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August 13, 2016

Monica Puig

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

M. PUIG/A. Kerber
6‑4, 4‑6, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Monica, such an emotional moment for you and everybody watching. What does it mean for you to do this for your country and for yourself?
MONICA PUIG: It's just amazing. You know, I know my country really appreciates this, and I really wanted to give this victory to them. The way that I did it tonight, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Q. What emotions were you actually experiencing once you had finished and won, taking in the moment?
MONICA PUIG: Just a lot of relief, a lot of tension going away. Also I couldn't really believe what just happened. It was such an amazing moment. The ball seemed to be going out kind of slow, so I wish it would have sped up a little bit.
I'm just so excited.

Q. Did you feel going into the week any sense of confidence that special things might happen? As things progressed, did that confidence start to steamroll a little bit?
MONICA PUIG: You know, I just saw an improvement every single match I played. In every match I got better and better. I started getting faster. I started getting more powerful. I started believing in myself even more. With every match that passed, I just continued to learn and continued to grow.
I just achieved one of my biggest dreams.

Q. I think you must have just been speaking with your mother. Who have you heard from already? Ricky Martin already has been apparently tweeting. Who have you heard from?
MONICA PUIG: Well, unfortunately I haven't checked my phone, but that's probably a good thing because there's probably way too many messages for me to answer tonight.
I was trying to call my mom before the medal ceremony, but unfortunately I don't know what's going on with my phone, I can't call home.
You know, I really wanted to talk to my parents, but even more so I wanted to give a big hug to my team because they really deserve it after dealing with me and all the hard work that we've put in during the course of this year.

Q. Do you have a sense of what this might mean in Puerto Rico to see an Olympic gold medal for the first time? Also I want to ask you, how much of what was coming from the stands could you actually hear, focus on, what you thought about that?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I mean, I know that my life is probably going to change a little bit from here on out, but it's going to change for the better I know.
It was inevitable [sic] to block out the noise going on in the stadium. What I did hear everybody saying is, Yes, you can, yes, you can, yes, you can. I kept repeating it inside myself, Yes, I can, yes, I can, yes, I can. It helped me believe and show me they were there for me whether I was going to win or lose. I was so proud of the support I had out there tonight.

Q. Even though you grew up in Miami, talk about your love for Puerto Rico and how much you feel for that country? Do you still train at the Royal Palms?
MONICA PUIG: I train in Boca because I'm managed by IMG. I train at Evert Academy, which IMG has a partnership with.
I've always been 100% loyal to where I was born and the roots I was raised up in. I still have family in Puerto Rico and I've gone back quite a lot. It's honestly my favorite place to go when I just want to go to the beach or just see family.
That island has given me so much, so much love and support throughout my whole career. I just owe this one to them.

Q. You said yesterday you were going to learn the words of your anthem.
MONICA PUIG: I was crying too much. My dad sent me an email this morning with all the lyrics. I didn't really have enough time to memorize it all. I heard some people singing and I did know the words that were coming up next.
If I would have stopped crying, I probably would have started singing. I couldn't. I was choking up every single time.

Q. Which match was the most difficult for you in this Olympic Games?
MONICA PUIG: I think it was a combination of the semifinal and the final. The semifinal, I felt a lot of pressure to be able to secure a medal at least. Coming out to play for a bronze medal, I give Petra a lot of credit. It's so hard to do what she did, to come back after such a tough loss and to win. I felt a little bit of relief there after.
But there's no denying that tonight was nerve‑wracking for me. I just tried to keep as calm as possible. Inside, I was about, like, to explode at any minute. Both matches were incredibly hard‑fought. I'm just so pleased with how I was able to keep my composure and come through.

Q. There has been a Puerto Rican woman here before, but she was representing the United States, Gigi. Do you know her at all? Was she someone you looked up to when you were younger? Do you have any contact with her?
MONICA PUIG: No. I know her, and she's wrote to me congratulating me. That's very nice.
She played in the doubles, and I know she won the gold medal. I think it was with Mary Joe. For me, you know, it's inspiring really. Anybody who wins an Olympic gold medal, it's inspiring.
I'm just so happy I was able to be the first Puerto Rican woman to win a medal at the games, and not just any medal but the gold medal.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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