Monica Puig could earn Puerto Rico’s first-ever gold medal, according to the Washington Post. In 68 years since competing in the Olympics, the Caribbean nation gained 6 bronze and two silver medals. The 22-year-old tennis star hasn’t lost a set in four matches in women’s tennis singles, making her an underdog in the competition, particularly as she holds the 34th-rank in the Women’s Tennis Association.
“Here, it’s not really my job. It’s for my country, and I think nothing in the world can compare to that. It’s the most special feeling when you put on your colors of your country and you’re walking around the Olympic Village and everybody looks to see your country on the back of your shirt,” Puig told reporters earlier this week, as she is set to face Czech Republic hopeful Petra Kvitova this weekend.
If Puig triumphs, her Rio win will be one for the history books in Puerto Rico.
For the past few years, the island experienced political and economic turmoil, due to a whopping $72 billion dollar debt that amassed on the island since Spanish colonialism. Young activists and artists protested in abundance after President Obama signed the PROMESA act, a piece of legislature requiring a board to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances. The legislature also permits the cutting of minimum wage, the slashing of the social welfare net, and the privatization of the island’s resources for company profit.
As protests rage on in the island nation for an end to a colonial legacy, Puig looks to make her home country proud.