Nathan Popov Serving
Nathan Popov Serving
Abby Gedville

From Injury To Captain

Junior Nathan Popov is a varsity captain on the Lakes Boys Tennis Team and continues to play some of the best tennis he has ever played in his high school career.

Junior Captain Nathan Popov is playing some of the best tennis he’s ever played for the Lakes Community High School Boys Tennis Team. “I got 3rd place at the Niles West tournament and 2nd place at the Antioch invite. I also have a winning record right now,” said Popov.

Last year Popov didn’t perform the best and had a negative record. Since then, Popov has put in a lot of hard work and practice in the offseason. Popov said he would, “lift 5 times per week targeting my whole body, and improving core strength. I also had intense practices 3 times per week during the summer. During the fall, I spent more time on lifting, and focusing on my serve which was my weak point last year.”

Popov’s biggest weaknesses last year were his serves and hitting. He spent a lot of time this summer practicing serves and trying to increase his power as well as hitting smarter shots. “Last year my shot choices weren’t the best, but I have improved a lot in that area of my game,” said Popov. He attributes a lot of his success to the work he puts in when nobody is watching. He attributes some of his success to God as well. “I thank God for allowing me to play the way I do, and allowing me to excel in every part of my game this year

I thank God for allowing me to play the way I do, and allowing me to excel in every part of my game this year

— Nathan Popov

,” says Popov.

He also suffered and injury to his left shoulder his sophomore season while serving. This caused his right shoulder to be lower than his left. Popov spent 25 weeks in physical therapy in the offseason to get his right shoulder back in place, as well as 6 chiropractic sessions. The offseason work Popov put in was incredible. However, it wasn’t only practice. It was recovery, strength, skill work, and much more. There is no doubt his success this season stems from his offseason work. “The team always looks up to Popov’s game. He’s playing some of the toughest competition he’s played so far, and he’s definitely holding his own,” said senior Jake Wisnewski who is a teammate of Popov.

This year he got promoted to captain, which is rare for only a junior. He leads warm ups, supports his teammates during matches, and tries to improve everyday. He is everything a captain is supposed to be. “Popov betters the team by bringing a tough mentality and always wants to win. He always brings good energy and a positive mindset,” says Wisnewski. Popov always makes sure to go out of his way to compliment his teammates and give them constructive criticism when needed.

Popov is definitely an overachiever. He sets many goals for himself and continues to surpass them everyday. “My goals for this season is to make state and continue to place in tournaments. I also want to continue to get better at handling pressure within matches, which has improved since last year,” said Popov. He hopes to win conference, place in sectionals, and make it to state by the end of sophomore year last year. Some of his smaller goals are to win most of his in-season tournaments and build a better relationship with his teammates every practice.

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