Life Beyond Tennis

7 Ways To Survive – For A Despaired Tennis Family

7 Ways to Survive - for a Despaired Tennis Family

How to rebuild your life from the scratch, if you are in your 40s, lost everything & has a tennis kid (actually two)?

I am writing this NOT to provoke a compassion for our family. At some sense, it is our fault (I mean adult family members) that this situation happened. We created it. We should solve it.

I am writing this because we continue to fight. An important part of this process is to identify the ways we can use to rebuild a normal life. So we deeply talked inside the family and wrote down what directions we can move to find a solution.

Another point is we definitely need an outside push/help for most of the ways we have identified. It is very easy to write in motivational books / speeches that “everything is in your hands” – but what if not? What if a one, but magic push can only help?

We are ready to work hard to normalize everything. But we DO need that push. If you can help – help. If you can’t – please share, may be somebody who can help is among your readers/followers.

Where we start

We are a family of 2 adults, 2 kids (15 and 11 years old) and 1 beautiful cat :).

We are recognized refugees. We became refugees in 2011, after fleeing away from Ukraine. You can read more on this here. Currently we live in Croatia – but we are ready to move anywhere if a good opportunity offered.

Our older daughter is a competitive tennis player.

She is among top-500 juniors in the world, and top-100 juniors of her age (born 2001).

Actually, she could go much higher in a very short term. But in tennis you can’t go higher without money.

A couple of years ago we had quite a different situation. I maintained my own business – not big money earned, but enough to live OK and finance tennis trainings & travels. Then everything has changed: my company went bankrupt… Trying to save it, I also lost all my savings. That was a big shock for all of us.

Now we run a small bar in our town. What we earn there is only enough to survive. But it is definitely NOT enough for tennis.

Nevertheless, we decided to fight for an opportunity to continue Sashka’s tennis career. You can say that it is stupid, and we shoud give up and concentrate on the real life issues.

But we won’t give up, if there is at least 1 (theoretical) chance that we can win – just like our daughter behaves on court. We will play till the last point of our life played.

We found at least 7 chances to break our opponent – Ms. Black Strip of Our Life – and win the game, set & match. We will tell about them soon.

What is our goal

Sashka during her practice

Sashka during her practice

Our daughter’s very minimal yearly tennis budget is 25,000 EUR. The family needs 15,000 EUR per a year to live. So we need to earn

40,000 EUR per year


15,000 EUR + sponsorship for Sashka.

What we are going to do

This is what we found we can do.

1. Job For One Person (FREE Tennis Sponsorship as a bonus for an employer).

I am looking for a job which can bring 40,000 EUR / year.

It can be any (legal) job, at any place of the world, at any weather or working conditions. It could be lonely place somewhere in Arctic or Africa – whereever.

I am ready to work 18 hours per day, without free days. I will never complain on working conditions or something else. I will be the most motivated employee you have ever seen.

My employer will get Sashka’s full sponsorship package as a bonus – without any extra payments. The company will have a promising tennis player bearing its brand/slogan effectively for free – as I will work out every cent you pay me.

Relocations, vessels, sea oil platforms and other exciting things are very welcomed.

I am a healthy & energetic man. I have a university degree & MBA in economics & management. Though I was beaten in my last business, I still have 20 years of successful entrepreneural experience & knowledge (now much more than ever before). I speak English, Russian, Ukrainian and Croatian fluently.

I am not looking for a “white collar” job. A year as a cook/bartender tought me a lot of things. As I am smart & motivated, I believe I can handle almost any job if provided with necessary instructions.

Please contact me if you have any offers/ideas.

2. Job For Two/Family (FREE Tennis Sponsorship as a bonus for an employer).

We also can relocate as a whole family.

The ideal place would be a tennis venue (public or private) which need to be developed and maintained. We could offer group & individual lessons, junior, amateur and professional tournaments, make non-tennis events, manage club facilities (hotel, dining room/bar, pool).

Free sponsorship package will be provided for an employer/community at no cost.

We also can manage private real estates, small hotels & similar. It can be a remoted place, the only requirement is a tennis court availability.

A budget should be slightly higher (around 50-55k EUR) as we need to hire one more guy as a club coach/hitting partner.

Please write if you have something for us.

3. Sashka’s crowdfunding.

We launched a crowdfunding campaign on this web site – feel free to support us if you can. We are also working to launch the similar campaign on one of the prominent crowdfunding web sites*.

* Successfully launched! Please visit & support “The World’s First Crowdfunded Tennis Player” crowdfunding campaign at

Sashka Oliynykova, the world's first crowdfunded tennis player

Sashka Oliynykova, the world’s first crowdfunded tennis player

While the outcome of the campaign is unclear now, if we succeed, it will change everything. If Sashka’s tennis progress is financed, we can earn for living (15-20k EUR per year) from our bar.

Our crowdfunding target is 25-50k EUR per year. The lowest side represent a “survival budget”, the highest – “best case scenario”, which will allows us to make things right.

4. Sashka’s sponsorship.

We also are extensively searching for a sponsor for Sashka. To support somebody who is fighting for his/her dream is a good thing itself. Moreover, when Sashka succeeds, her case will be a great inspiration for millions of refugee boys and girls worldwide who currently do not have access to many sports & activities, and often fully excluded from local communities.

More info on how to become a sponsor – here.

We can not guarantee that Sashka will become a top star. But with a high level of probability she may enter WTA top-200 in 5 years. From that level as a base we will work for further progress.

5. Turning our house into bed & breakfast hotel.

This is the realistic way to earn for Sashka’s tennis needs. We can convert our house into 5-apartments B&B facility (without moving away!). If fulfilled, it could brought us 30,000-35,000 EUR / year. Add here 15k EUR / year we still can earn in the bar – and we have enough to secure Sashka’s trainings & travels.

To start the project, we need to invest in renovation around 80,000 – 90,000 EUR. We can not borrow money in the bank as bank loans are not available for refugees :(. We are ready to guarantee the loan by the property.

6. Citizenship.

At present Sashka Oliynykova is a stateless, citizenship-less person. She played under Croatian flag basing of special ITF allowance – staying at the same time a refugee by official state documents.

Please read here (part 1) and here (part 2) what it means to be a refugee in competitive tennis.

While we are very thankful to Croatian tennis federation for that amount of support they provided us with, the present situation requires action. The state bureaucratic machine is enormous, we can’t win over it. We do not see ANY progress in obtaining Croatian citizenship by Sashka. It seems that nobody (except her family & coach) is really interested to see her playing for Croatia.

So we are open for all offers from other countries. Even with her current ranking, Sashka can be a national team player, let’s say, for Norway, New Zealand or Netherlands.

Sashka is ready to play for her new country – individually & in team competitions. All what we need is a citizenship and some support for her – to travel tournaments under her new home country flag, buy necessary equipment (rackets, strings, garments, shoes).

Please contact us if you have any opportunities.

7. Miracle.

I do not know what the miracle exactly should look like.

May be it is a successful person; or a prominent sportsman. May be it is a national leader, or a self-made hi-tech billionaire. May be it is a company, foundation or a life moment which will change everything.

We need a miracle to continue Sashka’s tennis career. So whatever you look like, dear miracle, please come to our family.

You won’t regret.

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