Roger Federer surprise Zoom call with Melbourne-based nurse Helen Richards

In a heartwarming act of gratitude, tennis superstar Roger Federer has thanked an Australian healthcare worker in a surprise Zoom call.

Melbourne-based critical care nurse Helen Richards has been combating the Victorian coronavirus outbreak at Monash Health Hospital.

Richards was preparing for a work-related teleconference this week when the Swiss maestro suddenly appeared on her laptop screen.

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Federer congratulated Richards for her invaluable work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in a conversation organised by the United States Tennis Association and ESPN.

Federer asked: “Do you play tennis yourself at all?”

Richards sheepishly replied: “Really, really, really badly.”

But humble as always, Federer responded: “I’m also not a great nurse. I try to be with my kids, you know.”

During the 20-minute conversation, Richards discussed the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Melbourne and spoke about her contribution to local nursing homes.

“At the moment, we’ve got lots of outbreaks in our nursing homes in Melbourne,” Richards said.

“I’ve been lucky enough to support the staff and the people who live there.

“We’re really lucky — public health in Australia is really well-funded and well-footed.

“You have made my year, you have no idea.”

Richards spoke to Nine News about the “incredible” opportunity to chat with a sporting hero.

“It was the most exciting thing … to have somebody like Roger Federer actually know my name, let alone say it, and for him to sit there and thank me for what I do was totally humbling,” Richards said.

Federer did not participate in the 2020 US Open due to an injury setback, but the 20-time grand slam champion is aiming to return in time for next year’s Australian Open.

Richards told Nine News: “If he wants to come over when he’s in Melbourne and have dinner at my place, we’ll put a barbie on for him. No worries.”

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