Nathan Popov


In the 2022 season, the Lake’s Boys Tennis team was led mostly by upperclassmen. This incoming season, things have changed, and sophomore Nathan Popov is a key player on the team at 1 Singles.

Ever since the 2022 season ended, Popov has been working hard to get to the position of 1 Singles. He has taken advantage of every opportunity to get better at tennis, by going to open gyms, playing club tennis, and helping out in the Fall during the Girl’s tennis season.

This dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Bryan Plinske, who expressed that Nathan has had “tremendous growth from freshman year to today” and has been working hard to get this spot on Varsity. In the Fall, Nathan helped all the female Tennis players improve their skills, but also created friendships with them that have lasted well past the Fall, including with Senior Nayomi Lotko. Nayomi stated her admiration of Nathan’s dedication to Tennis best, saying “Nathan goes above and beyond for Tennis from managing the Girls’ season, going from school to club practice, and not taking a break knowing what he needs to work on to be the best.”

Based on last season, Coach Plinske has immense confidence in Popov’s abilities. “We can put Nathan out against anyone we’ve seen in the past.” Popov believes that his biggest competitor this season will be Sean, a player from Wauconda, who Nathan barely beat when they scrimmaged against each other during the Girl’s Tennis season in the Fall. Senior Nayomi Lotko said. “Being a girl’s manager was probably a little bit more hectic” compared to being a boy’s manager and gave Nathan props for his help in the Fall. Lotko is now one of the managers for the Boy’s team this Spring, now seeing Tennis from a manager’s point of view. As the 2023 season has gone into full swing, the team has improved its skills and become closer. “Win every match and state will happen” is the phrase Coach Plinske said Nathan should live by going forward this season. Nathan hopes to get seeded at Sectionals and get top 12 in the state, once May comes around.

As Nathan has advanced in his Tennis career, he has made sure to stay humble and remember the people who have helped him become a superb Tennis player. He mentioned his Club Coach, who helps him improve and learn new skills, Gavin Murrie, the 1 Singles player last season who motivated Nathan at every match, Nathan’s Chiropractor, who helped Nathan aided him in recovering over 8 months to come back to Tennis, and also God, who kept him “motivated and opened [his] mind up to new things.” Nathan also has the support of his team and the school, who pushes him to continue doing incredible things.