Oct. 23, 2008
In the second of three Q&A's with the new faces on the Husky women's tennis team, Denise Dy talks with GoHuskies.com about her extensive junior tennis travels and embracing the cool Seattle climate. Dy, a native of San Jose, Calif., played in all four of the junior Grand Slams as well as Federation Cup matches for the Philippines. During her junior career she played with current Washington No. 1 Venise Chan and the two partnered up again at the recent ITA Regional Championships, where they made the quarterfinals.
GoHuskies.com: So when did you arrive in Seattle?
Denise Dy: "I got here three days before school started. I was originally going to come about a week and a half before, but I had some problems with the clearing house, and those things tend to take very long. Luckily I got in pretty quickly so I didn't have to wait until school started to get here."
GH: Has it been a smooth transition?
DD: "For me, I've been traveling a lot for the last five-six years, so coming up here is almost like another trip. I don't really get homesick or anything. When I didn't go to school I used to play for the Philippines, so I was actually spending more of my time overseas, like nine months out of the year. So now I'm just two hours away from my home so my parents like it a little better. I grew up in San Jose and for the past four or five years I've been playing for the Philippines."
GH: You come to Washington with a lot of high-level junior experience and a lot of travel; what are some of your favorite places you've played?
DD: "My favorite experience of course was playing in the junior Grand Slams. It's very fun and very competitive. People try and step into you as much as possible, so I didn't get much (headway) over there and I lost pretty early in the rounds. But it was a very good experience, you're in the setting as the professionals and you get to see all their matches, it's really good."
GH: Did you have a favorite among the four?
DD: "Probably Wimbledon I liked the most. But at the Australian Open they treat you the best."
GH: You also played some doubles with (current Husky) Venise Chan as a junior, is that right?
DD: "Yeah, she was with me during those times. So we've known each other since back then. All the Asian players are really close. Everybody knows each other, even the Europeans we're all a big family. You travel to the same tournaments and see the same people, so we learn to look out for each other even sometimes if you need to stay in a person's room for a night or you need to borrow some money to change a flight or whatever."
GH: Did Venise factor into your decision to come to Washington at all?
DD: "I didn't really directly talk to her, but I sort of got recruited by a guy who plays on the men's team, Jeevan (Nedunchezhiyan). Then he said I was looking for a school and Venise gave her feedback to the coaches for me, so she was a help as well."
GH: So what all went in to your decision to become a Husky?
DD: "It was a last minute thing but my visit here was really good. Even though it was raining the whole day, which is not really my thing, but the girls were always very welcoming and very nice. When I visited other places sometimes it's not really as pleasant. For me, my work environment is really important. It could be a prestigious school, but if I'm not going to get along with any of the people then I definitely won't go. But here, I loved the coaches. Jill and Damon are very, very good and very energetic. I really appreciated that and that was a lot of my reason for coming here."
GH: Why did it become a last minute decision?
DD: "I was thinking of taking an extra year and then playing, but the age rule for tennis was a year younger than most sports so I had to enroll pretty quickly."
GH: So with school having started and practice in full swing, how hard has it been to adjust to that and balance your time?
DD: "It's really a difficult transition for me especially because I've been home schooled for four or five years, so I've always learned how to get my homework at my own pace. Now that I'm here in school I have deadlines, I have to do these readings, quizzes every week...I can adjust to it, I'm pretty good at adjusting to new surroundings, but it's difficult. But Washington is very nice, they have tutors that can help you and your coaches help. There's always someone around you so you're not really alone."
GH: Coming from San Jose and playing in the Philippines which I'm sure are a very different climate, have you adapted to the weather?
DD: "For me rain doesn't matter. Actually when I was living in San Jose I always liked the winter better than the summer. I can play cold. I like cold weather, you just put on a jacket. If it's hot you're sweating everywhere and everything's hot and dirty, so cold weather for me is no problem."
GH: So how would you describe yourself as a tennis player?
DD: "Although I'm small I learned to place the balls better. I don't hit as hard as some of the girls who are big and muscular. But I've learned to make my game all-around. I can move forwards and backwards and volley, go sideways, hit lobs, anything that makes the opponent uncomfortable."
GH: Given the success of some of the girls you've played with and against as a junior, does that give you confidence that you can have a big freshman year?
DD: Hopefully I didn't go down during that time (since juniors). I've known them since we were 14 and I was still playing tournaments in the U.S. Hilary (Barte of Stanford) and I won the U.S. Hard Courts 16s which was really good. Generally I know a lot of the players in the Top-30 that I've played before and I've beat or lost to closely, so expectations for myself are pretty high. You never know, but for now I feel confident in that area."