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AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Even before her gold-medal tennis match Saturday, Monica Puig was being celebrated for her Olympic run in Puerto Rico.
With good reason, too.
Puig is just the third athlete to play for Puerto Rico and reach a gold-medal matchup in an Olympics, as she played Angelique Kerber of Germany for women's tennis gold on Saturday. (Gigi Fernandez is from Puerto Rico and is a two-time Olympic tennis gold medalist in doubles, but played for the United States.)
And Puig's homeland was paying attention, as evidenced by this Periscope video from former major league baseball player and current ESPN baseball analyst Alex Cora. He took this video in his hometown on Saturday, and had another video one of his daughter and her classmates watching Puig play on Friday as well _ the group joyously screaming in celebration.
"The whole country is locked in watching it," Cora said. "We needed this."
La clave hoy para que Monica gane va a ser el servicio. Tiene que servir bien. Con alto porcentaje y bien puesto.
— Gigi Fernandez (@gigifernandez) August 13, 2016
The excitement was obvious, and Puig is feeding off those vibes.
"I'm doing it more for my country," Puig said after winning her semifinal match. "The Olympics isn't about me, it's about Puerto Rico and I know how bad they want this. The island is full of such bad news all the time, so every time there's a games and somebody from the island wins a medal everything stops and I know how happy people get. So this one is not for me."
Puig lives in Miami, but there's no question about who she plays for.
"I consider myself 100 percent Puerto Rican," Puig said.