Dominic Patrick shines in weekend meet

BY JACK ROSSI | OCTOBER 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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When he’s not playing FIFA or catching up on the newest season of “The Walking Dead,” sophomore tennis player Dominic Patrick is hitting the courts and working on his game.

Over the weekend in Tulsa, Patrick defeated the No. 26 player in the world junior rankings. This is undoubtedly the win of his career so far, and he wants to build on this.

“It’s always a good win,” he said. “It gets your confidence up, especially going into the Big Ten tournament.”

Patrick found an interest in tennis when he was 8. By the time he was 10, he got serious in the sport. Tennis has been a big part of his life since, and he had several good influences to keep him going.

“My older brother started playing, and I really looked up to him,” Patrick said. “My parents also played a little in high school, and my mom played in college for a club team, but my older brother was the one who really got me started because I was into wrestling.”

Coming out of high school, Patrick was a highly recruited five-star player, and head coach Steve Houghton was happy that Iowa was able to get him.

“He was a five-star recruit nationally and was wanted by a lot of good schools, and we did well to recruit him,” Houghton said.

So what made him want to come to Iowa?

“I love everything about Iowa,” he said. “There’s nothing you can’t enjoy about the school. It’s a great place. I love the downtown, the school, and the athletics. It’s all fun. It just worked out really well for me. I also wanted to come back to the Midwest, being from Illinois.”

Even though Patrick is the only sophomore on the team, he doesn’t feel left out and believes that the team is close enough together that it doesn’t matter.

“I think that the team has really come together closer this year than in the previous year. We’re a close-knit group. I think it’s really helped,” Patrick said. “We don’t play who’s older or older guys get favored. It’s really helped our freshman, too. Everybody just comes out here and competes. That’s what we’re here to do.”

After this past weekend, this is the first time the coaches have seen Patrick’s potential after an abdomen injury hindered his freshman year.

“Coach was really good with getting me to the doctor quick, and they do a really good job of keeping me healthy once they found out what’s wrong,” Patrick said.

Houghton has also seen improvements in his game.

“I think he’s really buying into this idea that he’s got to be playing a bigger game than what he’s been playing, and he’s doing that. He’s using his forehand as a real weapon,” Houghton said. “I think the second thing he has been doing is moving better. He’s a fast guy in terms of natural speed.”

Teammates have noticed Patrick’s strides, and they are impressed by his victories, especially this past weekend.

“Anytime you fight through the qualifiers, it’s really good, then to keep it going to win a couple main draw matches,” senior Chase Tomlins said. “We will see if he can keep it going this weekend.”

Patrick wants to continue to grow and flourish in the new system. As a young player, he is the beginning of the next generation of Iowa tennis and there is a lot of tennis left for him.

“Going into spring, these kinds of wins are important, and I look to keep pushing more and more,” Patrick said.

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