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March 25, 2018

Monica Puig

Miami, Florida

M. PUIG/M. Sakkari

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Got a little difficult there at the end. You had to serve for it three times. What was happening there?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, she was applying the pressure there at the end as well. It was a little bit nervy to serve it out. I'm glad that I was able to regroup at 5-5, find my way there. Even being down 15-40 on my serve there at 6-5.

Just took the opportunities that I had and just tried to stay aggressive.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you reflect this many months away from when you won in Rio, what that means to you, whether you feel like you capitalized on that to your advantage.
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, it's been a long time coming. Obviously these results that I've had this past couple of days, it really feels good. Just trying to find that form again that I had in 2016. Just keep running with it.

I feel a lot better. I feel more confident in my game. I feel like this year is all about just finding my opportunities and just keep moving forward.

Q. Any thoughts on why it's taken so long?
MONICA PUIG: You know, this type of thing hasn't happened to me before. I mean, it was the biggest moment in my life. I was only 22 years old when it happened, still pretty young to win something so huge. So I didn't really know how to handle the opportunity that came my way, and the moment itself. It took me a while to settle in.

It's a lot about maturity. I feel like I've matured so much in the past year and a half. So, yeah, I'm just really happy where I am, what that moment gave me. I'm just ready to move forward and continue to grow as a tennis player and as a person.

Q. What's it like to play in front of a festive crowd like that? Has that increased since you won the gold?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I mean, in Rio it was more of the same magnitude of people there cheering for me. I'm more used to it now. In Rio I was, like, all over the place. Wow, this is amazing.

Yes, the fans have gotten bigger in size since that big win. I think it kind of put me on the map a little bit there. But, you know, I just appreciate all the support, that they come out to watch me play, are cheering for me.

A lot of them, mainly Puerto Ricans, they've lost a lot in the past couple months. They're here and they're enjoying themselves. Just seeing them happy, that's more than enough for me.

Q. I'm sure you saw Caroline's tweet about that. Does that sound right to you? Is that what happened?
MONICA PUIG: Honestly, I didn't hear anything. The crowd was very emotional and very excited the previous night. But I can't say. I didn't hear anything.

Q. Have you had any communication with Caroline about that?
MONICA PUIG: No, I have not.

Q. Talk a little bit about any family still in Puerto Rico. Have they all come here? Also I know you spent most of your life here in Miami, so your relationship with Miami and this being kind of your home event.
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I do have family in Puerto Rico. Most of them came over to Miami for a bit while things were quite bad in Puerto Rico. As things started to progress, they've gone back home. They've dealt with the situations.

I think things are slowly but surely getting better, so that's good. I know it's not going to be an instant click. I'm hoping by the end of this year things will hopefully be returning to normal.

Yes, you're right, this is the place that I've made my home for the past 23 and a half years. It's always exciting to come over here. But I think everybody knows where my heart belongs to, and that's to Puerto Rico. While I may live in Miami, I definitely consider Puerto Rico to be my home.

Q. Do you practice here at Key Biscayne or someplace else?
MONICA PUIG: No, I practice in Boca Raton at Evert Tennis Academy.

Q. But you live down here?
MONICA PUIG: No, I live in Boca. It's a bit of a drive (smiling).

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