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How tennis is helping a Ukrainian family thrive in B.C. | CBC News



Inside a Langley, B.C. tennis centre, 13-year-old Timoffi Trushenov serves a tennis ball with all his might. 

He’s been playing the sport since he was just four years old and wants to be the best.

When Russia invaded his country, his development was in jeopardy but fast forward nearly a year later, he’s ranked No. 1 in B.C. and seventh in the whole country in his age group.

“In Canada I have more chances to play tennis better,” he told CBC News.

Trushenov’s success is the result of community compassion a world away. 

Timoffi Trushenov, a young tennis star from Ukraine, was sponsored along with the rest of his family by a tennis centre in Langley. He’s now ranked No 1 in B.C. in his age group. (CBC)

When the war began, Larry Jurovich, tennis coach and head of a family-run tennis centre in Langley and other B.C. cities, reached out to the Ukrainian Tennis Federation and said he would be ready to support coaches or players.

Jurovich lived in the United Kingdom for years, serving as the head of coach education for the Lawn Tennis Association — the governing body of tennis for that country.

His centre in Langley has been working to develop the Lower Mainland into a model of tennis development based on the best international practices.

After war broke out in Ukraine, Jurovich sponsored Trushenov’s mother and younger brother, and then eventually their father when he arrived about seven months after them.

“He’s always wanting to help people out and it’s a huge benefit to our program,” his daughter Noah Jurovich recently said in an interview.

Larry Jurovich was not available to speak with CBC News for this story as he is out the country.

Timoffi Trushenov's family is one of more than 132,000 Ukrainian nationals who have entered Canada since the start of 2022.
Timoffi Trushenov says it was difficult coming to Canada and leaving his friends behind in Ukraine. (CBC)

‘Our life is absolutely full’

Trushenov’s family is one of more than 132,000 Ukrainian nationals who have entered Canada since the start of 2022. More than 11,000 have settled in B.C.

The federal government created a special program that fast tracks immigration for Ukrainians. People coming in through this program are considered temporary residents. This means they can work and study in Canada for three years. 

Jurovich greeted the Trushenovs at the airport, hosted them at his home for two weeks and then let them stay at a property at the tennis centre for six months. 

He also helped Trushenov’s parents find jobs and coaches the young tennis star for free.

“I feel I’m safe and my kids too,” said Trushenov’s mother Anna Trusheonova.

“Our life is absolutely full.”

Anna Trusheonova hopes to make Canada her family's permanent home.
Anna Trusheomova hopes to make Canada her family’s permanent home. (CBC)

Dreams of being the best

Trushenov’s days are filled with long tennis practices. His goal is to someday be ranked No. 1 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body of the men’s professional tennis.

He says it was difficult to leave his friends and loved ones behind. 

“First week was very hard. I didn’t speak any English at all but then it got better and better,” he said.

He knows Canada is a match.

“I want to stay here all my life because I really like Canada.” 

However, Trushenov is currently facing hurdles in accelerating his career. He can’t compete in national tournaments because he’s not a permanent resident. The tennis centre looks forward to when he can compete.

“He’s an amazing tennis player. He works the hardest on the court,” Noah said.

Trusheomova hopes to make Canada the family’s permanent home.

“If the war stops, it will take time to rebuild our country so for now this is the best way to raise our kids and our family and my kids are safe,” she said.

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