Four years ago, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Puerto Rico's Monica Puig shocked the world, claiming her country's first Olympic medal and in the process going from unseeded to Olympic gold medalist.
After a recent celebrity tennis event at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Puig talked exclusively with NBC 7 about her miraculous Olympic win.
“It’s a title that I still haven’t really realized as of yet that it’s true, I look at the gold medal and it makes me emotional because I’m like this really did happen.”
It really did happen and Puig has the gold medal to prove it, she's just not exactly sure where that medal is… You see, she gave it to her parents for safekeeping.
“You know I’m the type of person that loses things all the time and moms never lose anything. I’m like 'Mom where’s my shirt?' And she’s like holding it up, 'It’s right here, Monica!' she said. "So I trust them with the medal and once I have a stable place where I can settle down I’ll probably have it for myself and display it somewhere.”
This summer Puig will defend her gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, that's if she even gets the chance; there's increasing speculation about canceling or postponing the summer games due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Puig says that’s a huge topic of conversation among players.
“We’re all concerned for our own well-being and safety, and the well-being and safety of everybody else," Puig said. "The Olympics is an event that brings together so many different athletes and unites so many different people, so we just want everybody to be safe.”
Puig hasn't heard anything from Olympic officials, but the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is keeping all players updated on potential risks about coronavirus and international tournaments, including the Olympics.
“We’re going to closely monitor the situation and see if it’s in our best interest to go or not, but obviously the Olympics is something we never want to postpone and something that we don’t want to go away, but things being the way it is, we also have to keep ourselves and our bodies as healthy as possible."
Despite speculation about postponing or canceling the games due to the outbreak, Olympic officials say that preparations for the Summer Games are “continuing as planned.” When asked about speculation, officials said they have never discussed canceling the games, but will monitor any instance of infectious disease.
Off the court, Puig will continue to monitor the situation. On the court, Puig will continue to ramp up her play, with the hope being to defend her title as the golden girl of Olympic tennis.