Matey McHugh backing sky-high chemistry with Gray to fire them to scintillating SW19 run

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McHugh, 20, and Gray, 23, booked their place in the second round of the men's singles on Friday
McHugh, 20, and Gray, 23, booked their place in the second round of the men's singles on Friday

Fun-loving Aidan McHugh reckons on-court chemistry can propel him and Alastair Gray to an unforgettable Wimbledon debut journey, writes Will Jennings.

McHugh is a member of the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, which provides world-class coaching, medical and financial support to Britain’s elite young players with the potential to reach the top 100 within five years.

And he was on red-hot form alongside partner-in-crime Gray as they toppled Czech pair Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely 7-6 (1) 6-3 to start their SW19 careers with a bang.

Glasgow’s McHugh, 20, and Gray, 23, are cracking mates away from the court and the Scot believes that close-knit relationship can make them a surprise Championship package.

He said: “We get on really well – it’s great to be able to do it with him as he’s a really good mate, so we’re pumped.

“We’ve got good chemistry, 100 per cent. I think that helps a lot – we were speaking about it at practice and if you play with someone you get on with off the court, you’re going to automatically play better. 

“In doubles, I think that’s absolutely massive – that energy. Today, we dominated the energy throughout, and that’s a big focus for us.

“We try and always win that battle before we even think about the tennis. The fact that we get on really well helps us keep our energy up, enjoy it and get stuck in.

“If we’re at different tournaments, we keep in touch. But here, we’ve been in the bubble in the hotel, go for food, get some dinner and chill out.

“I actually don’t mind it – we’re still around each other and can socialise with each other. He’s good company and it’s good fun.”

McHugh is ranked almost 500 places above Gray in the ATP singles rankings, but the pair got on like a house on fire as they made their Wimbledon bows.

They battled their way to a first set tie-break victory before finding more fluency in the second to ease over the line.

McHugh and Gray will now duel it out with another British talent in the last 32, where they’ll meet Lloyd Glasspool and Finnish partner Harri Heliovaara.

Gray, from Surbiton, is currently on a scholarship at Texas Christian University but loved being back on home soil with McHugh on the Court 9 grass.

“As well as the support on the court, it was nice to have Aidy to bounce off in the tight moments on our Wimbledon debuts,” added Gray, one of 45 British players competing at Wimbledon this year.

“I think we did really well for each other out there – and we’ll do the same next round.”

Keep up to date with all the latest from tennis in Britain by following @the_LTA on Twitter, @LTA on Instagram, LTA – Tennis for Britain on Facebook and @lta on TikTok.

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