Jonny O’Mara is now seeking to become the King of New York after winning the title of Prince of San Diego last year.
Due to safety issues, a number of leading tennis players have withdrawn from the US Open, but it is another chance for doubles specialist O’Mara to build on recent Grand Slam changes.
The Scot and his partner, Marcelo Arevalo, played last year for the first time in this tournament, knocking out the No. 6 seed on their way to the 16th round. The pair went one step further at the Australian Open in early 2020, reaching the quarterfinals by removing the seventh and twelfth seeds.
Due to the pandemic, the momentum was halted, but O’Mara hopes that early in their relationship with Arevalo there were enough encouraging signs to indicate that another run deep into the tournament is not beyond them.
I’m not too concerned about the safety aspect of this,”I’m not too worried about the safety aspect,” I’m just happy to be back out there. It’s another chance to play in a major game, and in the doubles there have not been any real mistakes, so it will still be really competitive.
But we have what we did last year in New York and how we played in Australia in mind, and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.
“It will be nice to have a good tournament here and then look to the French Open and see what we can do there. And maybe we can sneak into the ATP Finals in London, which would be great.”
There have been few chances for the two to practice together, with Arevalo staying in Florida and O’Mara spending much of his time in Edinburgh. Add to that the fact that O’Mara’s coach, Toby Smith, is trapped in China and will not be able to make it to New York, and it has made it hard to prepare.
The Arbroath man, however, is optimistic he and Arevalo can find their rhythm quickly.
“The partnership is going great, we get along really well and our style together on the court works perfectly,” he said. He lives in Florida, where their courts have not been closed, so I hope he can lead us to a good run because he’s played a lot more than I do. So I’m going to put him under that strain!
“Last year, at the US Open, we competed as a pair for the first time. There we had a nice run and then he had a baby and wanted to retire for a while from the tour. We didn’t play again after that until Australia. But we didn’t play too many tournaments together, really. But we already have a pretty good record, and we’re going to continue to expand on that.
Despite all the limitations, this summer O’Hara was still able to play some tennis. He took part in the first edition of Jamie Murray’s “Battle of the Brits” event and announced that the group’s sense of camaraderie was never better.
The guys have always been really close and there’s some very British banter that players from other countries don’t always understand,” the world number 54 added. “I think it’s amusing – but I’m sure there wouldn’t be a lot of other people! We still hang out at tournaments together, and what Jamie did for the players by organizing the events this year was class. It brought us together a lot closer. In the group talk, there was a lot of chatting and I’m looking forward to beginning tennis so that we can support each other rather than tearing each other apart all the time! ”
After receiving a royal nickname the first time around, O’Hara also traveled to The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia to represent the San Diego Aviators in the second edition of World Team Tennis.
Last year, I played with a guy called Darian King, who was the San Diego King. So I became San Diego’s prince. Over there, I love it. It’s a great format and playing there is a lot of fun. Plus, it’s just a four- or five-hour drive from New York, so it’ll be very useful to experience those conditions.
And what’s he going to wear this week when he isn’t in court?
The latest Arbroath shirt, with O’Mara and number 33 on the back, happened to arrive in the mail the other day. So it was the first item in the suitcase that went in. That’s what I’ll be wearing on the road in New York.