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More than a year after her tennis career officially ended, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig got the hometown farewell she deserved on Friday in San Juan.

Puig beat Venus Williams, 7-5, 4-6, [10-5], in an exhibition match billed as "Battle of the Legends" at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot.

Puig's triumph in Rio de Janiero seven years ago, where she became the first Puerto Rican to win an Olympic gold medal, elevated her to a national hero on the island, and per a report by Agencia EFE, 18,000 spectators came to watch Puig and Williams play at the biggest indoor arena in Puerto Rico. The match was played in good spirits, as the players invited two ball boys to play with them on court and danced to reggaeton.

As a part of the festivities, Puig and Williams also put on a tennis clinic for 125 children at the VRM Companies' Riviera Tennis Center in Guaynabo, a suburb of San Juan.

"Puerto Rico... THANK YOU!!!" Puig wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post after the event. "Last night was a great celebration and I enjoyed it to the fullest!

To Williams, Puig wrote: "Thank you so much coming to this beautiful island and bringing your love and passion to the court and to the people! I loved being able to share this experience with you!"

Puig and Williams played twice officially in their careers. Williams won both times in three sets, including a classic 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3 first-round at the 2015 US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium.


After two years on the sidelines with injuries, Puig, now 29, made a brief return to tennis last spring for two tournaments in Madrid and Saint-Malo before announcing her retirement last June. In March, she was honored for her career in an on-court ceremony at the Miami Open, where she was always a fan favorite.

Puig has since taken up a role as a commentator for ESPN Deportes and Tennis Channel, and has completed several marathons.