(CBS Local)- The sports world is craving live sports action right now. Seasons across sports have been suspended due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Though the event isn’t live, World Team Tennis is offering fans a chance to watch some of the game’s best in action this Saturday April 4th on CBS. Maria Sharapova, Sam Querrey, Monica Puig, James Blake and Mardy Fish are just a few of the competitors fans will see on Saturday at 1:30pm EST/PST.
The 26-year-old Puig said that the event was so much fun because the format is so different from normal tennis.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s not like regular tennis,” said Puig in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “When you’re with a team it makes things light, it makes things fun and really entertaining. It was a great, great event.”
The highlight of the event for Puig was the opportunity to meet the legendary Rod Laver and get a picture with him. She said she was “awestruck” by the moment and getting to meet one of the legends of the game.
Puig is no slouch on the courts herself having taken the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. For her, the Olympic experience was more than just the opportunity to take the court on one of sport’s biggest stages, it was also an opportunity to represent her native Puerto Rico which was still struggling to recover from being rocked by several hurricanes.
“I feel like I blacked out during that whole experience,” said Puig. “The day passed by so quickly. It was just a surreal experience. Playing in an Olympic final or even just at the Olympics is a huge experience,” said Puig. “The fact that I just let myself go and played my heart out and played for Puerto Rico when all of this happened, it was great. On top of all of that, it also gave me a platform to help the country in one of its biggest times of need.”
However, the road since the Olympic gold hasn’t been as smooth. After reaching as high as being ranked 27th in the world in September 2016, Puig now finds herself currently ranked 90th. And, just prior to the start of the 2020 season, she suffered a knee injury which required surgery. In the process, Puig says she has learned a lot about herself over the past four years.
“It was tough to deal with all of that and all of the attention and the media being thrown your way. I finally feel like I have my feet on the ground, and I feel very good with where I’m at right now,” said Puig. “It took me almost four years to realize that. It’s okay because it was all a learning process for me and it helped me mature more.”
“I felt like I was really ready to start the 2020 season on a high and go to Australia. I was training really well and this being my first surgery it kind of floored me at a moment where I was so ready to compete and I just felt so motivated, so alive,” continued Puig. “Those were two really big things that gave me a little bit of a different perspective on the game and how I have to treat certain moments and take more care of myself.”
In the time off now, Puig says that while she has been antsy, it’s been good to have the time to rest and take care of her body. When tennis does eventually return, she wants to enjoy being out on the court more than ever.
Watch Puig compete in the World Team Tennis All Star Match Saturday, April 4 at 1:30pm EST on CBS.