Tennis’s Alexis Dorr balances 21 semester hours, job, tennis


Iowa women’s tennis player Alexis Dorr’s favorite professional tennis player is Roger Federer. And Dorr and Federer share a common characteristic in their lives: They both have incredibly busy schedules.

While Federer has been busy racking up grand-slam championships (or was until a guy named Rafael Nadal came along), Dorr has been busy balancing college tennis along with a 21 credit-hour schedule and a part-time job. This doesn’t give her a lot of free time, but when she has some, she takes full advantage of it.

“I love free time,” she said. “I can relax; it’s the only time I have to do that.”

Her day starts with tennis practice at 6 a.m., and ends after homework is done that night. She is a double major in journalism and mass communication and theater and plans on minoring in Spanish. Originally registered for 17 hours this semester, she added Turkish at the last minute because she wanted to learn the language and because her mother is Turkish. That put her at 21 hours.

“My academic schedule is very demanding,” she said. “It’s a lot of classes, but I’m getting the work done in time, so I can handle it.”

As a sophomore, Dorr said, she is taking all the right courses to fulfill her majors in time, and that 21 hours sounds worse than it actually is. Contrary to what head coach Daryl Greenan believes, Dorr finds herself perfectly able to balance her academic schedule with her tennis commitment.

“Coach doesn’t fully understand my capabilities,” she said. “I’m very ambitious. I can do what I set out to do.”

Also on her list of extracurriculars is a job at the Hillcrest Marketplace, where she works on Tuesday nights. By receiving a full scholarship for playing tennis at Iowa, she doesn’t work to pay for school, but instead for a little extra spending money, which she said is always good to have.

The most important thing Dorr has learned from her busy schedule is how to budget her time. When she does have some rare free time, she uses it wisely to get ahead on homework or catch up on sleep. She doesn’t waste it by watching TV, mainly because she doesn’t have one or a refrigerator for that matter. But when she does want to give her mind and body a break, she turns to Facebook and YouTube.

Dorr is from Doylestown, Pa., but spent junior high and three years of high school in Tampa, Fla., before finishing her senior year back in her hometown. Iowa came into the picture for college because of its journalism school and tennis, and she connected well with the coaches and players on her recruiting visit. She is still connecting well with them two years later, although her teammates enjoy teasing her about her schedule and other things.

“We help her with her homework on a daily basis,” sophomore Jessica Young joked. “She’s handling it very well. Her stress level is not a factor in anything she’s doing. She still has time for fun stuff with us. We’re all really proud of her.”

Currently 3-5 in singles for the Hawkeyes, Dorr plays in the No. 2 spot in the lineup and also on the No. 1 doubles team. Her teammates value the competitiveness that she brings to the team.

“She’ll stay out there for as long as it takes, she’ll fight no matter what,” Young said. “If she’s down, she’ll come back and fight for herself and her team. She’s a great leader, she’s always there supporting you when she’s done with her match. She’s a great teammate and we love having her.”

Dorr likes her fair share of serbest zaman (that’s “free time” for those who aren’t fluent in Turkish), but she doesn’t mind a busy schedule.

“I’d rather have a lot to do than less to do,” she said. “It’s more entertaining, and I don’t like to be bored.”

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