Tennis aide to represent Philippines

BY JOSH HICKS | APRIL 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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Denise Dy, an assistant coach for the Iowa women’s tennis team, has maintained a career in coaching college tennis while continuing her playing career as a member of the Philippines National Team.

She has been selected to represent the Philippines in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games. The games are scheduled to take place in Singapore June 5-16.

“I was born and raised in San Jose, California,” she said. “But officially, I play under the Philippine flag in International Tennis Federation tournaments.”

Dy, a three-time former NCAA All-American, was ranked as high as No. 3 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings, and No. 6 in the doubles rankings during her career at Washington.This is her first year as an assistant at Iowa.

The Philippines is ranked No. 3 all-time in the games behind No. 1 Thailand and No. 2 Indonesia. Dy is one of five women chosen by the Philippine Tennis Association to participate in the games.

Dy has competed in the games since she was 16. She made her first appearance in 2005 and won a bronze in doubles; she returned in 2007 to win another bronze in doubles, all under head coach Chris Cuarto.

“She has already earned a lot of recognition for the country,” Cuarto said. “Having Denise on the team is a big plus for us. We can use her, especially in doubles. She is one of the major contenders in that event.”

He said he was most impressed with Dy’s ability to manage her coaching career and train for the games, and he believes the two complement each other.

Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty agreed that playing and coaching mesh well in tennis. She said she’s lucky to have an athletic and talented player who can step in during practice and play with the team at an exceptional level.

Cuarto also likes Dy’s playing style and tenacity.

“Denise is a very passionate player.” he said. “She is very feisty during matches, and she’s not afraid of anything.”

When she was younger, Dy competed in a number of international tournaments before playing in the NCAA. Things got started in the Philippines for her when she took a trip there.

“I must have been 14 or 15 years old,” she said. “I played in my first Southeast Asian Games when I was 16.”

She has competed in the event four times. Apart from her bronze medals in doubles from 2005 and 2007, she won silver in doubles along with a bronze in singles in 2009, and in 2011, she won a mixed-doubles gold medal.

“It’s always an honor to represent the Philippines,” Dy said. “I’m very lucky to have the Philippine Tennis Association be very supportive of what I do here as a coach and still trust me to excel in the games.”

The balance between coaching and playing internationally hasn’t been as much of an issue for Dy. She’s a highly disciplined individual.

“If given the task, she’ll work her hardest to deliver,” Cuarto said.

Dougherty and Dy agree that the Hawkeyes come first. However, Dougherty was excited about her assistant coach’s invitation to the Southeast Asian Games.

“Anytime you get asked to represent your country, that’s an opportunity you always have to take,”the sixth-year head coach said. “It’s a great honor for her.”

Dy was grateful to Dougherty for letting her take a brief vacation this summer to compete, noting Dougherty’s unwavering support.

“I’m all for her taking a few weeks this summer and competing for her country,” Dougherty said. “She’s a fantastic player and a great young coach with a bright future ahead of her.”

Dy made it clear that her coaching career comes before playing. She said she thinks she is incredibly fortunate to have a career in which she in a sport she loves.

“I take my coaching role very seriously,” she said. “I consider it my top priority as of now. If I have any energy or strength left, I put that into being a player.”

Follow @joshhicks90 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s tennis team.

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