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Monica Puig, surprise Rio Olympic tennis champion, to miss Tokyo Games

Monica Puig

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: Gold medalist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico poses during the medal ceremony for Women’s Singles on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Monica Puig, the surprise Rio Olympic tennis champion, will miss the Tokyo Games and the rest of this season after undergoing a second shoulder surgery to repair a rotator cuff and biceps tendon.

“This does put me in a very difficult position and having to sit out of the Tokyo Olympics this year,” Puig said in a video posted on her social media on Sunday, where she’s sitting with her right arm a black sling. “It is very difficult, and it was with a very heavy heart that I took this decision. Obviously, my team and I are thinking long term and prolonging my career for as many years as possible and hoping to play in the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

Puig won the Rio Olympics despite having never made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam. She was ranked 34th in the world and the first unseeded woman to win an Olympic singles title since tennis returned to the Olympic medal program in 1988.

She became the first person to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Puerto Rico. Puig beat major champions Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber en route to the title.

Puig, 27, is currently ranked 168th and last played on the WTA Tour at the 2020 French Open in September. She was not in qualifying position for the Tokyo Games but was eligible for a wild card spot that’s available to past Olympic gold medalists or major champions.

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