Wimbledon organizers have given out several free tickets to Ukrainian refugees in a welcome home gesture.
Recent arrivals from Merton in southwest London and their host families were presented with the tickets at an afternoon tea.
As part of the tournament’s distinctive colors, white, green, and purple bunting was hung from the ceiling in the classic Wimbledon dish strawberries and cream.
Two young boys bounced tennis balls on their small racquets on the tables decorated with tennis balls.
Organizing the event was Slawek Szczepanski, the chief executive of the Polish Family Association, who was impressed with the refugees’ resilience.
He said, “Those people came a few weeks ago, totally shattered, and now they’re able to join us for tea.”
Slawek continued, “They left the country with nothing. They needed to go. They have nothing to return to and don’t know if their family’s still alive.”
Several hundred Ukrainians have been housed in Merton, while more than 100 families in the area welcome those fleeing the conflict.
According to Paige Murphy, head of the Wimbledon Foundation, the refugees will be able to spend a day on No.1 Court in a few weeks – an opportunity to see some “amazing tennis.
” She said, “We’re incredibly proud of this achievement – it’s part of our mission to provide people with a memorable experience following some challenging months.
She continued, “To provide a unique day when they can hopefully have a bit of respite and get some enjoyment out of it is incredibly inspiring for us.”