O’Mara beats grief to take title
PERSONAL tragedy could not stop Chris O'Mara from showing the young pups some new tricks at this year's Lismore Open Championships.
The 45 year old won the AMT Men's Singles tournament with a come-from-behind three-set win over Aaron Westerlund in yesterday's final.
Victory over 17-year-old Westerlund was a sweet moment for O'Mara, whose mother Margaret died just before Christmas.
After sealing his 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in the final, which was thankfully played in cooler conditions after sizzling weather for the three previous days, the winner was understandably delighted.
"The last few months have been hard," he said. "I haven't played much tennis recently - I'm trying to get back into it.
"I really wasn't expecting to do well here, so it's nice to get the win. I was glad it was 20 degrees cooler today as well.
"I play a style of game from about 20 years ago. I don't think these younger guys are used to it.
"It's good to get a win and show I can still play a bit."
O'Mara only started playing tennis competitively in his late teens but is something of a late bloomer.
The Toowoomba-based player spent three years playing in France in his mid-20s, which he credits with boosting his game.
O'Mara finished 2013 as the country's top-ranked senior men's player in the over-45s division.
The right-hander was cheered on at the event by his three daughters, all of whom he is introducing to the sport.
"I would have loved to have been a pro, but I left it a bit on the late side," he said.
"At the end of the day, I'm trying to fill a gap with in my life with tennis.
"I love competing in these events. It keeps me fit as well."
There was FNC success to celebrate at this year's tournament, which was held at the Lismore Tennis Club.
Wardell's Jess Tickle took the women's consolation singles final with a straight sets win over Bonnie Moon.
Goonellabah's Jaykob Rowe won the 18 and under men's consolation singles.