5 May 2020 | Tennis Australia

World No.1 Ash Barty today joined fellow Queenslander Pat Rafter at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Queensland to show their appreciation and support for frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair met with David Rosengren, Executive Director of the RBWH, and had a surprise hit at a pop-up court on the hospital’s helipad with clinical nurse consultants Trish Hurst and Michelle Doidge from the Infection Prevention and Monitoring Service.

Barty, whose sister Sara is a midwife and mum Josie also works in the medical field, came up with the initiative, and she and Rafter also toured the hospital, including the Emergency and Infections Unit, where the most Queensland COVID-19 cases have been treated.

The pair also joined a video conference with other members of the medical team to express their gratitude.

“It was really incredible to come into one of the COVID wards and just to see how it all works and how it’s sectioned off,” said Barty.

“There were a lot of people and a lot of unsung heroes who are going unnoticed at the moment who are doing a lot of work to keep us safe, keep the community safe and to keep us tracking in the right direction.

“So it was really special for us to see that today.”

Rafter acknowledged the intensity of seeing staff hard at work in full personal protective equipment.

“Being in that environment, it’s pretty tricky,” noted the two-time US Open champion. “You can’t thank these guys enough for what they’re doing.”

For the healthcare workers, a special visit from the popular Queenslanders providing a huge boost in the intensely challenging circumstances.

“Being the largest hospital in Queensland we often have to bear the brunt of lots of the hard work and lots of the complexity,” Rosengren related.

“The staff here work like slaves and are deeply devoted to what they’re doing and every now and again it is so good to be able to just spend five minutes and look at the bright side of life and to get some recognition.

“We have plenty of Pat and Ash fans here and the smile on their faces around the hospital as been exceptional.”