Edwin Cartagena

Edwin Cartagena, North Forsyth tennis 

Edwin Cartagena had never played organized sports when his cousin talked him into joining the North Forsyth tennis team. “My cousin made me,” said Cartagena, a senior at North Forsyth. “I had nothing to do, and I didn’t know the guys on the team.”

That was his freshman year. Now, he has no regrets about that decision. “My team is really fun to be around,” Cartagena said. “It’s really a fun way to pass time.”

Cartagena said he prefers playing singles. “I don’t like playing doubles,” he said. “If I make a mistake, I feel like I have let my partner down. In singles, it’s on me and nobody else.”

Playing the baseline is his favorite. “Most of my points at my level are where we hit back and forth, and someone scores real quick,” he said. “If I play closer and someone hits a hard shot, I can’t get to it.”

He said he’s got one of the most powerful serves on the team. “I feel like my serve is one of the fastest on the team,” Cartagena said. “For the most part I get my first serve in. If it’s my second, I try to do a trick serve and try to put spin on it.”

Cartagena said his perception of tennis changed once he started. “To me it seemed like a boring sport,” he said. “You just hit it back and forth.”

Keeping the ball inside the court’s white lines was a challenge. “When I first started, I kept hitting the ball outside,” he recalled. “If I hit it over the fence, they made me go get it.”

He said he’s seen significant improvement since his freshman year. “It’s been a huge improvement,” Cartagena said. “I went from a complete beginner to a lot better. I’m not one of the best but after my freshman year I’ve been trying to improve and get better.

“I knew for the most part what I was doing wrong. I didn’t have the basics. I would get others to help me.”

Serving was the most difficult thing to learn. “My freshman year it just never went in,” he said. “I was not using the proper grip. It felt awkward. After my sophomore year I forced myself to change and my serve got better.”

Cartagena said he continues to play so he’ll be ready if the season resumes. “I’m playing a couple of times a week with a friend,” he said. “We play a couple of hours. I’m really bummed out if we don’t get to play the conference tournament.”

Ken Winfrey

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