While COVID-19 seeps daily into the consciousness of the White House, 1,900 kilometers away in Wichita, Kansas, a British tennis player is helping families who know poverty, but are yet to feel the full effects of the coronavirus.
As Katie Swan waits for the Tour to resume — and for Wimbledon to decide whether or not to hold this year’s championships, scheduled to start on June 29 — she prepares part-time and turns the rest of her energies to helping disadvantaged people in her adopted city.
The Bristol-born player has lived in Wichita for seven years with her mother, Nicki, her father, Richard, and her teenage brother, Luke.
For the past two weeks, they have been sorting canned food and other necessities in their garage, ready for distribution.
“My mum works with a charity called Big Brothers, Big Sisters [a tax-exempt organization mentoring underprivileged children across the US and 13 other countries], who look after kids from a tough background,” Swan said yesterday.
“She decided when this coronavirus started that she wanted to support those families with groceries they couldn’t get, either because they were too scared to go out or, having too many kids, could not leave them at the house,” Swan said. “Some still have to work while their kids are not in school. She has been going to the supermarket pretty much every day for the past two weeks, buying loads of groceries.”
“She has also supported a 98-year-old man who cannot go to the grocery store,” Swan said. “He loves my mum’s homemade banoffee pie. It’s the only thing he will eat.”
Swan, who has only played four matches this year — the last of them in an ITF tournament in Santa Fe in late February — is still ticking over.
“I go to the club to practice a couple of hours a day, then come home to do my fitness,” she said.
Swan, languishing at 256 in the world and eager to return to the Tour, added: “I know the WTA, ITF and ATP are working hard to do their best. Nobody could have predicted this.”
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