JOHN LLoyd is certain Ryan Peniston has the talent to force his way into the world’s top 100 tennis players.

Peniston, who is from Great Wakering, is into the last eight at Queen’s after beating world number 46 Francisco Cerundolo in three sets yesterday.

But BBC Sport pundit Lloyd - who himself grew up in south-east Essex - is confident Peniston has what it takes to improve his current ranking of 180.

Echo: Impressive - Ryan Peniston is into the last eight at Queen'sImpressive - Ryan Peniston is into the last eight at Queen's

“He can definitely get into the top 100,” said Lloyd.

“I haven’t seen him enough to know how much higher he can go after that.

“I’d have to be around him a bit more for me to know that.

“You can sometimes get a flash in the pan in tennis, someone who wins a match or two but you hear things about people’s attitudes.

“However, everyone I talk to about Ryan tells me his work ethic is fabulous.

“He wants to succeed and he’s got that side of it which is key.

“The mental side of wanting to do it day in day out is so important and I’m told he definitely has that.

“I see no reason why he can’t go up the rankings list big time and it’s fantastic.”

Echo: Flashback - John Lloyd in his own playing careerFlashback - John Lloyd in his own playing career

Lloyd - who himself got as high as number 21 in the world during his own playing career - had not seen Peniston play before the start of Queen’s.

And the standard of the 26-year-old’s game has come as a nice shock for Lloyd.

“It was a surprise to be honest,” said Lloyd.

“I hadn’t seen him play before this week.

“I watch quite a bit of tennis in the States where I now live but players ranked below 100 you don’t get to see very much.

“I had heard of Ryan but I hadn’t seen him.

“He’s obviously from near where I’m from so I’m keen to see him do well and he’s definitely impressive.”

Echo: Links - a young Ryan Peniston with John Lloyd's parents Dennis and DorisLinks - a young Ryan Peniston with John Lloyd's parents Dennis and Doris

But Lloyd’s links to Peniston actually go way back beyond this week as his parents Dennis and Doris took a keen interest in the early stages of Peniston’s career.

And Peniston’s father Paul once also drew a portrait of Lloyd’s parents.

“I had heard the stories but I met Ryan’s father yesterday and heard about Ryan’s links with my parents which was great,” said Lloyd.

“I so hoped he would win because it’s fantastic for him and the tournament as well.

“He’s established himself now, in his mind too and he’s shown he can play in a big arena.

“This would’ve been the biggest arena he’s played in but he enjoyed it and embraced it.

“He loved it and that’s a good sign but now the hard work really starts.

“He’s got to try make his way up the rankings but he’s definitely capable of doing it and I wish him the very best with everything he does.”

Echo: Doing well - Ryan Peniston Doing well - Ryan Peniston

Lloyd, who grew up in Leigh on Sea, is back in England for the grass-court season.

And the 1977 Australian Open finalist will soon be returning to Essex.

“I always go back sometime during Wimbledon,” said the 67-year-old.

“I always go back on the train to Southend, get off at Chalkwell and see my sister.

“We go to one of the seaside cafes, where I get my skate and chips and treacle tart and custard.

“I live in West Palm Beach in Florida now but we don’t get skate and chips there!


>Ryan storms into the last eight at Queen's

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