Whether being confined to a luxury hotel room for 14 days constitutes a hardship or not would seem to depend on the mindset of the individual.

In the case of tennis players quarantining ahead of the Australian Open, one man’s comfort appears to be another man’s torture. Or woman’s, for those forced into washing their own hair. Oh, the indignity!

Jonny O’Mara falls into the category of those who believe there are a lot worse things happening in the world than being confined to barracks.

The Scottish doubles specialist admits he’s one of the fortunate ones still allowed out for five hours a day to train and exercise, unlike the 72 players who flew in on flights that produced positive cases and now have to isolate for a fortnight within the confines of their rooms.

Even then, however, O’Mara thinks a sense of perspective is required. Australia is battling valiantly to try to eradicate the virus, and having hundreds of players, coaches, officials and broadcasters jetting in from all around the world to participate in the event that now starts on February 8 has understandably caused some alarm among Melbourne locals.

O’Mara believes the tennis community has to keep in mind that it is merely passing through and should respect the decisions taken by the local authorities to keep everyone safe, especially with two players and another “non-playing participant” having now tested positive.

“The situation is a little surreal,” admits the man from Arbroath. “But it’s not exactly been a normal year for anyone, anywhere. We’re all facing different challenges.
“It’s an unusual build-up ahead of a Slam but even a month ago I didn’t think we would be able to get out here and play in this event. So I’m just happy to be here.

“I think asking us to stay in the rooms for 14 days is fair. Every country is tackling the virus differently and they have the right to choose how they want to handle people coming in from outside.

“You just have to keep some perspective on the situation. When residents of Australia have been coming home they’ve had to do the hard 14 days so even in that aspect we’ve been fortunate to get outside to practise.

“I have sympathy for those players who have to stay in their rooms, no doubt. That would undoubtedly be trickier. But it does make sense. You can’t bring cases into Australia when they don’t have that many and have done so well to contain it.

“We’re just visitors here. Other players might feel differently but I’m happy to respect the situation that we’re in and just get on with it.”

O’Mara is settled into a rhythm and using the time in his room to try to relax and catch up with TV shows and other entertainment, his only regret that he didn’t bring his putter.

“We normally leave between 11am and 4pm so the routine isn’t all that difficult,” he adds. “You have breakfast then head out.

“There’s two hours for tennis and then we can use a gym behind the practise courts for 90 minutes.

“So it’s three-and-a-half hours out and then we go back to the hotel and can have food downstairs in the lobby.

“And when you get back to your room late afternoon you do a few exercises, watch a bit of Netflix and have some dinner.

“I’ve started watching the US Office for the first time which I’m enjoying. And I got told by Colin Fleming [Scottish tennis coach] to get on to a golf show called No Laying Up which is unbelievable. I’ve been loving watching that on YouTube.

“One of the players Ken Skupski has brought his putter with him to practise in his room so I wish I had done that now too.”

The 25 year-old reached the quarter-finals of this event last year in tandem with the El Salvadoran Marcelo Arevalo. The pair split, however, a few months ago, with O’Mara hooking up with Cameron Norrie for a few tournaments.

With his fellow Scot, however, already paired with someone else for the Australian Open, O’Mara is now heading into the unknown with new partner Artem Sitak, the Russian-born New Zealander.

“I’ve been in between partners for a few months now,” added O’Mara. “I asked Norrie to play but he was set for the Aussie Open so it was a bit late notice to try to find a partner.

“I got a message from Sitak saying he was available so it will be good to play with him. He was on one of the flights that had the positive tests so we won’t be able to practise much beforehand.

“But sometimes when you go in with low expectations good things can happen. We’re getting out to do the job we love in front of fans and you can’t ask for more than that.”