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RTA Try Tennis Spotlight: Natalie Rodriguez

Natalie Rodriguez wasn’t a tennis player. She had never played before and she wasn’t even looking to start playing. Then one day she happened upon a post on Nextdoor about tennis. Someone was looking for a tennis racquet and one of the comment’s mentioned the Raleigh Tennis Association’s Try Tennis program. Looking for something active to do during the pandemic, Natalie had heard tennis was a COVID-friendly sport so she thought she’d give it a try.

Natalie is also new to Raleigh and was looking for a way to meet new people and make friends. Try Tennis was the perfect opportunity for just that! Having completed Try Tennis, she is currently participating in Try Play and she does that on Wednesday evenings. One other day during the week, usually over the weekend, Natalie is playing with her new friends from class. “I'd play even more if I could. It is a great COVID-safe activity!”

When Natalie thinks back on her favorite memories from Try Tennis, she fondly remembers her coach, Moses. “Coach Moses was always encouraging us even when we failed spectacularly at tennis.” It happens to all of us, Natalie!

For others just starting the program and tennis for the first time, Natalie has this advice: “Don't get down on yourself for not being a pro right away. Like me, you may be very athletic and be good at other sports and feel frustrated that tennis isn't coming naturally. It requires patience and finesse and that's just part of the process.”

Natalie high recommends Try Tennis and Try Play to anyone new to the sport. “If you miss your gym and socializing right now this is a great solution.”

So what is next for Natalie? She’s looking to continue her tennis fun with Try League - a great next step in the Try Tennis pathway that introduces beginner players to the league experience.

Natalie’s favorite shot is “anything that goes over the net” and her favorite professional tennis player is Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Maybe in 10 - 15 years, Natalie, but we have no doubt she’ll be as good as her mama!

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