Freelance tennis journalist Stephanie Myles joined The First Serve's Brett Phillips on SEN on Wednesday to offer her opinion on the current situation unfolding in Australia ahead of the 2021 Australian summer of tennis.
Myles made the tough decision to travel down under to cover the 2021 Australian Open, committing to a strict quarantine in order to cover the event.
“Look, a lot of things went through my head and anybody around me, friends and family who heard I was going, it was either ‘oh cool you’re going’ or ‘are you crazy?’ There was both of those things mixed together. Here’s the thing - it was unclear until I got on the last chartered flight from Dubai whether I was even going to make it. When you’re a freelance journalist, I don’t make a living when I’m home, so if it was doable, I was going to try and do it. But it was very complicated. It took me about four days to get here and once I decided to do it I just went full steam ahead. It worked out, I made it, it wasn’t easy but I’m glad to be here," Myles said.
The Canadian journalist offered her take on the current situation unfolding in Melbourne: "It’s complicated. Its a complex thing because generally speaking I don’t go out of my way to not be critical of tennis organisations. I’m not on their side. As far as the players go, I feel like the players deserve a certain amount of sympathy on some level, but at the same time I feel like the Melburnians deserve a fair amount of sympathy as well because they went through a tough time," Myles explained.
Myles explained that she believes Melburnians should be more sympathetic towards the players, explaining that other countries have experienced similar lockdowns.
"With the Melburninas, particularly the ones who have been ripping the players on Twitter and going on and on about things, I feel like they’ve been quite blinkered. I’ll tell you what, there’s a curfew and a big lockdown going on where I live right now. We’ve all struggled with it and just because our countries haven’t handled the virus as well for various reasons, it does not mean we have not all also suffered just as much."
"In countries other than here, where there have been so many more people dying, many more of us have been touched personally. So I find that attitude a little bit off-putting because if you’re going to accuse the tennis players of being so blinkered and unaware of what’s been going on here, then you have to send that courtesy on the other side as well," Myles stated.
Myles also looked at the situation from a players point of view.
"As far as the tennis players go, the communication could’ve been better. The WTA and the ATP should’ve very much emphasised to all of the members saying: look you’re going to be bored, there’s going to be things that aren’t to your taste, but stay off the social media with this stuff, in respect to the people that are hosting you and giving you this opportunity to make a living. But they’re young and they’re self absorbed in the sense that it's an individual sport and they’ve spent their whole lives with things revolving around themselves. Also, they go to so many different countries that I’m not sure it’s fair to necessarily expect them to start doing all this research before they go into each country, and check the history of the pandemic in that country, it’s asking a lot," Myles said.
Listen in to the full interview on your preferred podcast platform below.