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Former World No. 1 Patrick Rafter and WTA World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty visited frontline healthcare workers at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Queensland on Tuesday to show their appreciation and support 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 from the Infection Prevention and Monitoring Service Trish Hurst and Michelle Doidge.

“Being in that environment, it’s pretty tricky. You can’t thank these guys enough for what they’re doing,” said Rafter.

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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 thanks.

“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.”

Rosengren said the visit from two of the country’s most popular athletes was uplifting for everyone dealing with the pandemic.

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

“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 has been exceptional.”

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