Quarantine leaves Scot O’Mara in limbo

Jonny O’Mara (right) made the quarter-finals last season with Marcelo Arevalo

Scotland’s Jonny O’Mara says being able to leave his hotel room for five hours a day is making “a huge difference”, as Australian Open doubles partner Artem Sitak is confined to his for two weeks.

Sitak is among those having to isolate for 14 days before the tournament after positive Covid cases on their flights.

It means he and new partner O’Mara, 25, will be limited in their court time.

“I had five days in full lockdown while all flights were tested and even with that I was toast,” the Scotsman said.

“So I don’t know how 14 days is going to feel.”

O’Mara and others who have been cleared are permitted five hours out of their rooms each day – which equates to three-and-a-half hours training.

However, Sitak will not be allowed on court for several days, with the event fewer than three weeks away.

O’Mara, who reached the quarter-finals with El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo last year, is 58th in the world doubles rankings compared to New Zealand-based Sitak being in 78th, and is keen to begin work.

“If we were looking at this as just purely tennis, it is very disruptive,” O’Mara said.

“We have never played together and had a chance to learn what each other does on the court and get used to each other, but you can’t just look at it as tennis.

“Yes, it is difficult and it might affect us for the tournament, but he has got his negative tests and that is the most important thing.”

O’Mara can understand why some members of the Australian public feel wary about this year’s event going ahead, with 72 players forced to self-isolate upon arrival.

The Arbroath native says the reaction he has seen seems to be “50/50” but hopes that will change.

“It is very safe. Maybe once everything has settled and the tennis starts, people will be excited all the big names are back, the big matches are happening,” he said.