We went offline for almost two weeks for a quite important reason – a complete restart of Sashka’s tennis career. She has relocated to another city & club. She replaced her coach & training system. Finally, she is trying to change her mental stance to really believe that the hardest part of her life is behind her, and “the sky is clear” now, at least for several monthes.
We are going home from Bavaria region of Germany, with disappointing results and a long to-do list. Now it is obvious that Sashka’s current ranking position is “ahead of herself”. Two first-round losses are deserved; it is just a confirmation of a big miracle she made in the middle of 2016 jumping to 300-400th positions in ITF Juniors race. Her REAL junior ranking is probably around 1000th. It was NOT a bad luck or wrong day – both in Hamburg and Cadolzburg Sashka lost because her quality & mental stance was not enough to win.
Well, now we have a whole month to practice before the next tournament (in the end of March). Let’s see what will be changed till then.
Technically the campaign has failed – as we attracted less than 2% of targeted sum. But a lot of things have been changed around us for these 2 monthes in a positive way, and these changes are definitely connected with our crowdfunding attempts. Sashka is still in competitive junior tennis process – that’s the main outcome. She has got a lot of new friends, and we feel support of tennis community whereever she goes. What’s next? Play tennis and reach new highs, it’s that simple.
What a day! What matches Sashka has played & won!
…Hmmm, well, actually there are a lot of things for the team (not for Sashka – she is definitely a hero of the day!) NOT to be proud of.
First of well, her fitness & conditioning is a “trouble zone”. She has at least 5-7 kg overweight. She lacks “continouos power”. Her diet is still unregulated.
Please do not advice us to “find a good nutritionist”. We anyway do not have extra money for that :). But some books or tutorials will be greatly welcomed – we are doing this stuff by ourselves now (me & Sashka), reading, learning & implementing.
But you know what? With all these conditioning problems, Sashka has NOT lost any 3-sets match in this season (she played 3 of them to date).
Sashka is in Hamburg, she won her first quali match today, and we now have a short rest before scheduled walking to downtown to see some interesting places of Hamburg. Courts are completely full today (10 rounds should be played – I think, it will last till the midnight!), but we want to make some “refreshing” conditioning in the evening. Read below what else interesting we had for these 2 days.
There are quite a lot of routine tennis things happened since my previous post. We spent hours on the court daily, working on what we can improve fast, both technically & tactically. We still can’t forecast where is Sashka’s “honest” place in ITF Juniors ranking (#379 now) whether she is sitting too high or too low at the time. But one thing is quite definite: we have a training process “close to normal” now, so it is time to play tournaments and try to earn some experience & ITF points.
I must admit that I was wrong blaming Croatian tennis federation of a kind of discrimination in my previous post. We discussed the National Team incusion issue with National Team coach, and I am more than satisfied with what I’ve heard.
As for a free court support, it was just a technical problem – people suggested that Sashka does not need this form of assistance as she rarely practice in Zagreb. From now, as an acting U16 champion of Croatia, she can use this benefit too.
Meanwhile, the biggest & most important problem of Sashka’s tennis being is still not solved: A CITIZENSHIP. Sashka is formally a stateless person. Furthermore, her refugee status will expire in December 2017, so 6 months before, in June 2017, virtually any country can reject her passport as a document for entrance, as its expiration date is too close!
I am really afraid of this scenario… If it becomes a reality, we will de-facto become prisoners inside the country. Croatia is NOT a member of Schengen zone, so there is a border control on all state borders. If Sashka loses her opportunity to travel to international tennis tournaments, what pro career are we talking about?
We kept a silence (both in this blog & Twitter) about Sashka’s performance on Winter National Championship U16. The reason is very simple: we both (Sashka & me as a current coach) did not want her story to be just a media hype. At the end of the day, the only thing matters is your game’s quality. Sashka was not “optimized” for this tournament, actually it was not scheduled at all & came last-minute as a replacement for two ITF Grade 5’s in Bosnia which we should skip because of Sashka’s upcoming relocation. But now I can share some details of this unexpected, but deserved victory… as well as several additional paragraphs on such an important & painful issue as Sashka’s (undefined) citizenship.
After a five-day break, we are online again with latest Sashka news. We have something to tell about: in the nearest weeks Sashka will change a coach, club & location. You never know whether any changes are ultimately for good, but in our situation the change itself is something positive, as it may bring an exit from the dead end.
We also want to thank Sara Errani, the only WTA/ATP player who made a material support for Sashka.
Day # 3 started extremely early – at 5:40 a.m.! The tournament venue had 3 courts only. The matches scheduled to start at 8 a.m., so the only available time for practicing & warming-up is from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m (last half an hour reserved for the first match players). If I say that Sashka is an early bird, it won’t be true. So this wake up was really, really hard to complete. Soon or late, but at 6:30 we sat in the taxi driving us to the venue…