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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 05:15 PM   #3211
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Re: Puerto Rican hope Monica Puig

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Old Dec 21st, 2014, 06:00 PM   #3212
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Re: Puerto Rican hope Monica Puig



Mónica Puig feels “a special strength” playing for Puerto Rico

The tennis player talks about her accomplishments, her future and of how important it is for her to represent the country.

Madrid.- Winner of the last two Central American and Caribbean games, in Mayagüez (Puerto Rico 2010) and Veracruz (México this year), Puerto Rican tennis player Mónica Puig assures that representing the colors of her country gives her “a special strength, something unique” that few are able to comprehend.

The San Juan player finished the season ranked 59 in the world, won her first professional title in Strasbourg (France), and was crowned winner of the Rising Stars competition during the WTA Masters, held in Singapore.

Trained by Spaniard Ricardo “Richy” Sánchez, she asserts in an interview with EFE that her goal is to be number one in the world, that she sees herself reaching the final rounds in the Grand Slams and that she wants to return to the Masters to compete among the best eight. She adds that the sport of tennis does not end at the age of 30, using Serena Williams as an example, and declares herself a passionate follower of Spaniard Rafael Nadal, whom she does not hesitate in affirming is an example to emulate.

How do you define yourself as a player and as a person, and being as extroverted as you seem to be, is it possible to have friends in the circuit?

I am very aggressive in terms of attitude and how I play on the court, but as a person I am more sociable and I like to be with my family, and to be different from how I am on the court. And yes, it is possible to have friends in the circuit, but there is also a lot of respect, although when it comes to getting to the court we all are concentrated on one goal and it is to get to the next round and win the tournament. But yes, it is possible to have girlfriends. The thing is that one wants to do it better than the other one, we push each other, especially those of us that are in the same age bracket, to get to the top.

What is your opinion about what you have done this year?

It has been a year of transition because I have switched trainers twice and, at last, I feel comfortable with Richy. I have won my first title and I am more comfortable and more centered, learning different things. I do not see it as a bad year, because in addition to winning that first title, I have won in Singapore and the gold medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games. I am very happy, but next year has to be better.

Why did you switched coaches twice, and what does Ricardo Sánchez contributes now?

I had been six years with the first coach (belgian Alain de Vos), and he took me up to certain point in my career, but I needed a little bit more. I then was with portuguese Antonio van Grichen, but he told me in Miami that he did not want to travel all year, and I was in this stage of my career in which I need somebody on a full time basis, and that is why I got in contact with Richy, and I was lucky because he was free at the time. It was a very good decision.

Richy gives me a lot of discipline, many values. He teaches me how one is supposed to behave on and out of a court. He is very professional, with a lot of experience. He has taken people to the number one spot (Jelena Jankovic) and has worked very well with Fernando (Verdasco). He treats me as if I was his daughter, and teaches me things that with my age I do not understand very well, but he always tries to take me to the top.

Technically he is very knowledgeable and sees key things on the court that I do not see. [For] 2015 we already have a much better plan in place.

This year you have won over players such as Spaniard Carla Suárez, German Andrea Petkovic or Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, your best triumphs. What have you learned from those victories?

I know I can compete at that level, the only thing I need is to be in those situations much more frequently. For example, I played against Sharapova in Rome (this year) and the match was there to be taken, but obviously I need more experience in those phases of the tournament and against those adversaries. Playing more frequently in those phases it will help me win more comfortably against the more difficult players, and reach deeper in the Grand Slams. [The article in Spanish actually says against the easier players, but that is obviously a typo.]

I have learned that one has to have a certain respect for each player, but I know that I can compete with them. I have always known that I want to be number one in the sport of tennis, and I believe that I can be around there very soon, that is why my goal for 2015 is to be able to stand out.

Serena Williams is number one in the world at 33 years of age. Is that positive for women’s tennis?

You see her body and it does not seem that of a 33 year old woman. She looks very strong, very dominant in her game, with a lot of strength. I believe that now you can play up to that age and stay fit. Tennis does not stop at age 30, you can continue playing and be number one.

It is nice to see that the sport of tennis continues that and one can continue accomplishing things. There is a great deal of respect for her, because she has earned everything working. It is positive because she continues defeating all of us, but one has to find the way to defeat her. For now she is a great champion.

What do you feel when you compete in a Grand Slam?

In a tournament like that, one feels a little bit more nervous because it is an enormous tournament, a lot of people go watch it, and one feels a special sensation that is not felt in other tournaments. When I reached the third round at Roland Garros and the fourth round at Wimbledon (2013) I knew that I could be in the second week of one of them, including the quarter finals at Wimbledon. I had it there on my hands.

I love playing in those tournaments because it is there where you measure yourself. This year I had two pretty good adversaries at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and in the US Open the match against Petkovic got away from me by the slightest of margins. I know I can accomplish great things in the Grand Slams. I just have to find myself and work on my game with Richy. It will take me some time and the results will not come tomorrow, but long term, I am going to be there.

You have won the last two Central American and Caribbean Games. Has that tournament become too small for you?

No, not exactly. That is because every time I put on the blouse, and defend the colors, of my country, I feel a special strength, something unique, something very deep inside of me that makes me fight all out for the title, for my country, for my people. It is a feeling that perhaps many people cannot comprehend.

But those of us that are from the island comprehend it much better. We know how difficult it is to get there and the great happiness that we give our friends, and to everybody over there when win something. That motivates me and gives me more energy; that is why I like to compete for my people.

What did you learn from your experience at the Singapore’s Masters, in the Rising Stars competition that you wound up winning?

It was very interesting observing how the top eight players in the world behave and to see how things are in those types of tournaments, how things feel. When I played the final match on the central court it was incredible because I lived those sensations and I said to myself, I want to return there next year and play amongst the eight best. To accomplish that I have to win a lot and work very hard, but I want to see myself there in a couple of years.

I want to be number one in the world, and being number one I will go to the Masters. This year was a dream come true and to win that contest, incredible.

What would you say stands out of the ATP circuit and what would you keep from it?

[To me, what stands out is] the attitude of the players, their professionalism, their work on and out of the court. I love how Nadal does it, always fighting, always giving more of himself. To me he is an example of a great professional, of perseverance, and I hope that he continues like that for a long time and that he still wins many more Grand Slam titles.


Mónica Puig siente “una fuerza especial” al jugar por Puerto Rico

La tenista habla de sus logros, su futuro y lo importante que es para ella representar al país

Por Miguel Luengo / Agencia EFE

Madrid.- Ganadora de los dos últimos Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe, en Mayagüez (Puerto Rico 2010) y Veracruz (México en este), la tenista puertorriqueña Mónica Puig asegura que jugar con la camiseta de su país le proporciona "una fuerza especial, algo único" que pocos pueden comprender.

La jugadora de San Juan acabó la temporada en el puesto 59 del mundo, ganó su primer título profesional en Estraburgo (Francia), y se coronó ganadora de la prueba Rising Star durante el Masters WTA disputado en Singapur.

Entrenada por el español Ricardo “Richy” Sánchez, asegura en una entrevista con EFE que su meta es ser la número uno del mundo, que se ve llegando a rondas finales en los Grand Slams y que quiere regresar al Masters para competir ya entre las ocho mejores. Añade que el tenis no se acaba a los 30 años, y pone como ejemplo a la estadounidense Serena Williams, y se declara una seguidora apasionada del español Rafael Nadal, de quien no duda en afirmar que es ejemplo a seguir.

¿Cómo se define como jugadora y como persona, y siendo una persona tan extrovertida como parece, se pueden tener amigas en el circuito?

Soy muy agresiva en temas de actitud y como juego en la cancha, pero como persona soy más sociable y me gusta estar con la familia, ser también una chica diferente de como soy en la pista. Y sí, se pueden tener amigos en el circuito, pero también hay mucho respeto, aunque a la hora de entrar en la cancha todas estamos concentradas en una meta y es llegar a la próxima ronda o ganar el torneo. Pero sí, se pueden tener amigas. El asunto es que una quiere hacerlo mejor que la otra, nos empujamos las unas a las otras, especialmente las que estamos en la misma franja de edad, para llegar a lo más arriba.

¿Cuál es su opinión de lo que ha hecho este año que acaba?

Ha sido un año de transición porque he cambiado de entrenador dos veces y por fin me siento cómoda con Richy. He ganado mi primer título y estoy más cómoda y más centrada, aprendiendo cosas diferentes. No lo veo como un mal año, porque además de ganar ese primer título, he ganado en Singapur y la medalla de oro en los Centroamericanos para mi país. Estoy muy contenta, pero el año que viene tiene que ser mejor.

¿Por qué cambió de entrenador dos veces, y qué le aporta ahora Ricardo Sánchez?

Con el primer entrenador (el belga Alain de Vos) llevaba seis años y me llevó hasta un cierto punto en mi carrera, pero necesitaba un poco más. Luego estuve con el portugués Antonio van Grichen, pero él me dijo en Miami que no quería viajar todo el año, y en esta etapa de mi carrera necesito a alguien a tiempo completo y por eso contacté con Richy, y tuve suerte porque él estaba libre entonces. Fue una muy buena decisión.

Richy me aporta mucha disciplina, muchos valores. Me enseña cómo hay que comportarse en una pista y fuera de ella. Es muy profesional, con mucha experiencia. Ha llevado a gente al número uno (Jelena Jankovic) y ha trabajado muy bien con Fernando (Verdasco). Me trata como si fuera su hija, y me enseña cosas que con mi edad no entiendo muy bien, pero siempre intenta llevarme lo más arriba.

Técnicamente es muy sabio y ve cosas claves que yo no veo en la cancha. En el 2015 tenemos ya un plan mucho mejor trazado.

Este año ha ganado a jugadoras como la española Carla Suárez, la alemana Andrea Petkovic o la eslovaca Daniela Hantuchova, sus mejores triunfos. ¿Qué ha aprendido de esas victorias?

Sé que puedo competir a ese nivel, lo único que necesito es estar en esas situaciones mucho más a menudo. Por ejemplo jugué contra Sharapova en Roma (este año) y lo tenía para ganar, pero obviamente me falta experiencia en esas fases del torneo y contra esas contrincantes. Estando más a menudo en esas fases me ayudará a ganar más cómodamente a las más fáciles, y a llegar más lejos en los Grand Slams.

He aprendido que a cada jugadora hay que tenerle un tipo de respeto, pero sé que puedo competir con ellas. Siempre he sabido que quiero ser número uno del tenis y creo que muy pronto puede estar por ahí, por eso mi meta en el 2015 es poder sobresalir.

Serena Williams es la número uno del mundo con 33 años. ¿Eso es positivo para el tenis femenino?

Tu ves su cuerpo y no parece una mujer de 33 años. Se la ve muy fuerte, muy dominante en el juego, con mucha fuerza. Creo que ahora se puede jugar hasta esa edad y mantenerse muy bien. El tenis no se para después de los 30 años, puedes seguir jugando y ser número uno.

Es bonito ver que el tenis continúa y se pueden seguir logrando cosas. Hay mucho respeto por ella, porque todo lo que ha ganado se lo ha trabajado. Es positivo porque nos sigue ganando a todas nosotras, pero hay que encontrar la manera de ganarla. Por el momento es una gran campeona.

¿Qué siente cuando compite en un Grand Slam?

En un torneo así, una siente un poco más de nervios porque es un torneo enorme, va mucha gente a verlo, y se vive una sensación especial que no se siente en otros torneos. Cuando hice tercera ronda de Roland Garros y cuarta de Wimbledon (2013) sabía que podía estar en la segunda semana de uno de ellos, incluso llegar a cuartos en Wimbledon. Lo tenía ahí en las manos.

Last edited by Boricua #1 : Dec 21st, 2014 at 10:35 PM.
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