Alastair Gray and Ryan Peniston train together, play doubles together and will soon share a house together.
On Tuesday the British duo also achieved their childhood dream together – winning their first matches at Wimbledon.
Gray, ranked 288 in the world, saw off former Wimbledon boys’ singles champion Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3 6-3 7-6 (3) with a composed display on Court 14.
Earlier 26-year-old Peniston, also a wild card, entertained a busy Court 12 with a similarly efficient 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.
In doing so the duo put another £56,000 of prize money in the pot for the house they plan to rent together in the Wimbledon area.
Although, as Southend leftie Peniston observed: “Round here, in these times, I think I might have to win it!”
Gray, the second lowest-ranked player in the men’s draw, had won ITF World Tennis Tour events in Shrewsbury and Glasgow this year but had never even played above the lower-tier Challenger Tour level before.
He said: “It is pretty special, to be honest. Both our debuts today. Then we’re playing doubles together tomorrow, as well.
“Ryan and I are great friends, training partners. We have the same coach, Mark Taylor. So to be going through this with him is just amazing. Pretty cool.”
Gray and Peniston are two of an impressive nine Britons already through to the second round.
Gray, a 24-year-old from nearby Twickenham, attended the same school as fellow first-round winner Jack Draper and the same US college as British number one Cameron Norrie.
“I think we’re all spurring each other on,” added Gray. “Them doing well creates belief in the other Brits that they can do it, too. We’re all just pushing each other higher and higher right now. It’s so great to see.
“Maybe it hasn’t been like that in the past. But I think right now British tennis is looking in good shape.
“I think we’re all just hungry to win. I think that’s because we have some good people supporting us.
“The number one goal for us was to go out and enjoy the experience, to just get our game out on the court, see what happens.
“We know we have the game to win, so it’s about going and taking it and winning it. It’s not about worrying about all the pressures and the tension and stuff like that.
“I think we’re all just going out and playing very free, which is dangerous. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing so well.”
Gray set up a clash with 11th seed Taylor Fritz in the next round while Peniston will meet American Steve Johnson.
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