Rio champ Puig sets sights on slam victory

Put the rubbish out, get the shopping done, win an Olympic gold medal.

That was the to-do list of Monica Puig, the 22-year-old whose victory in the women’s singles in Rio earlier this month made her the first ever Puerto Rican to win Olympic gold.

It was an unlikely but fully-deserved win for the world No.34, catapulting her to hero status and making her a role model for young people in the island Commonwealth that is enduring tough economic times.

Now Puig wants to capitalise on her victory, both on and off the court.

“I know that there’s no doubt in my mind that I can probably win a grand slam because the Olympics was one,” she told Reuters at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, on the eve of the US Open.

“It just doesn’t have the title grand slam but the best players in the world were there, including Serena (Williams).

“I won the biggest thing on my to-do list and I just want to keep knocking off other ones, and that would be to win a grand slam.”

Confident but at-ease despite all the new-found attention, Puig is still coming to terms with her stunning victory in Rio.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” she said.

“It’s a little bit difficult to process. I was by no means the favourite. It was such a surreal ride.”

In floods of tears during the medal ceremony, Puig and her gold medal have been virtually inseparable ever since.

“I remember waking up several times in the middle of the night and just looking at my night stand to actually see if my medal was there because I didn’t believe it,” she said.

“I wasn’t able to sleep very much for three, four or five days. It was the most surreal feeling in the world to be an Olympic champion that morning.”

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