World renowned tennis players Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Bublik and Sebastian Korda visit Autism Center in Astana

September 28, 2023

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Sept. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In what has become a tradition at the Astana Open, tennis players Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Bublik and Sebastian Korda visited a center for autistic children in Kazakhstan’s capital city.

The athletes received paintings from children at the Asyl Miras Autism Center and in turn gave them gifts.

The assistance provided by the Center is “very important” said Wawrinka. “It’s important to help these kids and give them the skills they need in life”, the Swiss star added.

Dominic Thiem, social workers with children, Stan Wawrinka, and Bulat Utemuratov – Photo credit: The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation

“The Center is truly impressive”, said Austrian player Thiem, who additionally praised the qualified staff who help the children.

Asyl Miras Autism Centers are a key project of Bulat Utemuratov Foundation, which has opened 12 Centers in Kazakhstan, including two in Astana.

The Foundation was established in 2014 by Bulat Utemuratov, a leading Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist who oversees its activities. Utemuratov is President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Vice President of International Tennis Federation and the key investor in the projects managed by Verny Capital investment group.

Last year, Novak Djokovic — now a 24-time Grand Slam champion — and fellow Grand Slam winners Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev also visited the Center ahead of their opening matches, as did Grand Slam semifinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that Early diagnosis of Autism is critical.

“A broad range of interventions, from early childhood and across the life span, can optimize the development, health, well-being and quality of life of autistic people”, the WHO said on its website.

“Timely access to early evidence-based psychosocial interventions can improve the ability of autistic children to communicate effectively and interact socially…The monitoring of child development as part of routine maternal and child healthcare is recommended”, the WHO continued.

Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem interacting with children – Photo credit: The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation

So far, about 15,000 children with autism spectrum disorder have benefited from programs through Bulat Utemuratov Foundation.

Like many ATP tournaments, the Astana Open has a strong social dimension, with a number of activities taking place around the event.

Along with Autism Center visit, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation organized a masterclass for young players from across the country with leading players from the tournament. Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik hosted the event, along with Tallon Griekspoor from the Netherlands, Czech player Jiri Lehecka, Adrian Mannarino from France and Australia’s Alexey Popyrin.

Separately Dominic Thiem, Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, Roberto Carballés Baena from Spain and French player Grégoire Barrère took part in a photoshoot with homeless pets at the Balto animal shelter, to raise awareness of stray pets and the shelter’s work finding new owners.

Kids Day with Alexander Bublik – Video credit: The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation


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