Ryan Peniston may have fallen to defeat on Tuesday, but it was a day at Wimbledon he will never forget after battling it out with Andy Murray on Centre Court.
The chance to face Murray was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Southend player Peniston, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme and had previously expressed his wish to one day face the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Peniston had narrowly missed the chance to face his compatriot at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy and LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham, losing a round before a potential meeting versus Murray.
But after receiving a wildcard from the All England Club for the second straight year, the 27-year-old’s dream finally became a reality when the draw was made last Friday.
It was a tough encounter for Peniston who faced a Murray in full flight, with the 36-year-old claiming a 6-3 6-0 6-1 win to reach the second round – though it was still a memorable occasion for Peniston.
He said: “The experience was amazing. Obviously, it’s not the result I wanted. I wanted to try to go out and win. Andy is an amazing player – but it was overall an amazing experience for me.
“I couldn’t really believe it. I was trying to maintain calmness, but it was impossible. Midway through the first set was when it kind of started to settle down a bit. But, for the first 20 minutes or so, it didn’t feel real at all.
“It was really cool to have close friends and family all there watching, going for the experience with me. It was amazing.”
It was a relentless performance from Murray who, after a slow start, delivered the kind of performance that has taken him to one victory away from 200 Grand Slam match wins.
And Peniston credited his past hitting partner for a scintillating display, and believed that he himself had produced better tennis than the scoreline may have suggested.
“I think the main thing that Andy did really well today was he was just relentless on every point,” added Peniston.
“I had quite a few games where I was 30-0 up, had game points, but he was relentless on every point. That’s why the scoreline was like it was.
“He played a pretty clean match I thought. I think that the scoreline was definitely one-sided for him, but I felt like we had a lot of good rallies and close, close points that went his way.”
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