Ishtuganov Excelling for Hoosiers
Feb. 9, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University senior Dmytro Ishtuganov came to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine to play collegiate tennis when he was just 17 years old. The adjustment from playing exclusively in junior tournaments to competing against men in their 20s proved difficult. However, Ishtuganov has simultaneously retained the No. 1 positions in Hoosier singles and doubles play during the 2005-06 season.
Until recently, Ishtuganov could not rely on physical strength to win matches. Instead, he utilized and developed his natural understanding of dominant strategies to overtake his opponents and earn the nickname "The Great Dima" from his teammates.
"I love studying the game," Ishtuganov said. "I always try to get as much information about my opponent as I can. When I know what to expect and what strategies are most affective against that particular player, I feel much more confident."
Prior to his senior season, Ishtuganov found more success in doubles play than in singles. He attributed that to the types of skills he brings to the court and the style of his game.
"My four greatest tennis assets are serve, return, netplay and improvisation on the court (especially the anticipation of what my opponent will do), and these are the things that are needed to be a good doubles player," Ishtuganov said. "Doubles is a finesse and smart game. If the pair chooses the best strategy for every point and both players have enough skills to execute, it is very difficult to beat such a team."
The IU men's tennis team practices intensely throughout the season. In addition to his rigorous tennis schedule, Ishtuganov, a promising game theorist, majors in economics and has earned Alpha Beta honors.
"Tennis and studies consume every bit of energy," Ishtuganov said. "Whenever I have some free time I prefer to lie on the couch and play video games or watch television. Basically, I try to avoid any activity that requires physical effort."
A huge soccer fan, Ishtuganov added an exception to his recreational lethargy.
"I never miss a chance to play soccer or watch it on television," Ishtuganov said. "After moving off campus, I connected to satellite service that broadcasts European soccer leagues. If there is an English Premier league game on at 6:30 on Saturday morning, there is no way I will miss it."
Ishtuganov has dominated on the court so far in the 2005-06 season. He hopes to maintain and improve on his high level of success through the rest of his final season as a Hoosier.
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