While Roger Federer was preparing for today’s Hopman Cup final, his wife Mirka was donning a lab coat and joining researchers in a surprise visit to the Telethon Kids Institute yesterday morning.
Ms Federer’s visit to the institute surprised staff, who took the now-retired tennis player and mum of four on a tour, led by paediatrician and researcher Tom Snelling.
“She was down-to-earth and interested,” Dr Snelling said. “She talked a lot about the fact she has two sets of twins and related her experience looking after sick children and the anxiety that it can create for parents.”
Ms Federer’s interest went beyond her children, as she discussed with researchers the work the Roger Federer Foundation does to improve the lives of African children.
Dr Snelling said Ms Federer said she was grateful to have her family together as they followed the Swiss tennis champion on tour.
“She said she very much enjoyed her time here, bringing her children and family to Perth,” he said.
“The big problem we’re tackling is trying to encourage parents vaccinate their children on time and we discussed that issue with Mirka who was across that… with many countries in Europe having had problems with parents not vaccinating their children.”
TKI director Jonathan Carapetis said it was “reassuring” to see Ms Federer so impressed with the institute.
“To have people like that talking about our work as they travel around world and back to Switzerland is only going to help us,” he said.
Ms Mirka said she took many photos she was eager to show to organisations back in Zurich.
The Federer family’s next stop will be in Melbourne in preparation for the Australian Open, which starts on January 14.