PAUL Peniston was proud as punch after seeing his son Ryan topple one of the world’s best tennis players at Queen’s yesterday.

The Wakering based Ryan turned on the style to beat top seed Casper Ruud 7-6, 7-6.

And Paul managed to control his nerves to watch the whole encounter.

“I do get extremely nervous watching,” said Paul, 66.

“I’ve had to walk away when he’s been playing before because of how nervous I’ve been.

“I’m a lot better now I’m getting older!

“I didn’t walk off today but I nearly did if I’m honest.

“My wife knows what I’m like though and made sure I sat in the corner so I couldn’t get out.

“But it was lovely to watch and I do always love to watch him.

“I like his style and he’s honestly a lovely kid but he does like to get his use out of a court!”

The shock success continued Ryan’s fine run of results after he reached the quarter finals at both Nottingham and Surbiton.

But it was a broken string when first playing in Wakering which first set Ryan on his way to the very top of the sport.

“Ryan was three when he first hit the ball and we went over to a park in Great Wakering which we call the Rec,” recalled Paul.

“We were messing about and the strings broke in his racket because he could hit it so far, even back then.

“That hadn’t ever happened to me before so I didn’t know what you had to do.

“I thought you had to buy a new racket but I happened to speak to someone who suggested I spoke to someone in Thorpe Bay who re-strings rackets.

“We went to see him and it turned out he was a member of Southend Lawn.

“He suggested we went over there to play so we did and all of the members were so just so nice.

“I still love them dearly to this day and that’s where it all started for Ryan.

“I’ll always love that club and it will always be in my heart.”

Ryan’s talent soon started to show but it has been a slow rise to the top for the former Southend High School pupil.

“I never pushed him or burnt him out,” said Paul.

“There were a lot of really good young tennis players who we don’t see anymore because they’ve been burnt out.

“We’ve always let Ryan have a life and yes you could argue this could have happened five or six years ago but I don’t care about that.

“He’s happy and he’s healthy and that’s all that matters to me.”

However, that was not always the case.

As a child Peniston survived rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, and had to have surgery to remove a tumour and chemotherapy at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London And Paul still thinks back to those times.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve nearly lost it and we’ve always had to be strong,” said Paul.

“That always plays on my mind. I can get really angry with him sometimes but then I think back and I’m thankful he’s here.

“He’s always had that fighting spirit, I think he must get it from his mother!”

>Ryan Peniston reacts to shock win against top seed Casper Ruud

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