RYAN Peniston wants to face his childhood hero Rafa Nadal in the first round at Wimbledon.

The Wakering based 26-year-old, who was beaten in the quarter-finals at the Rothesay International at Eastbourne this afternoon, will be playing in the main singles draw at the Championships for the first time next week.

And Peniston is dreaming of being paired against the legendary Nadal in Friday’s draw.

Echo: Last eight - Ryan Peniston reached the quarter finals at WimbledonLast eight - Ryan Peniston reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon

“The dream draw for me would definitely be to play Rafa,” said Peniston 

“He’s always been my idol growing up and I love the way he fights for every point like his life depends on it.

“He’s incredible and I’ve watched him from the stands at Wimbledon so to play against him on centre court would just be outrageous.”

However, Peniston will be pleased with whoever he is paired against.

“I can't really explain I'm just so, so excited,” said Peniston.

“I’m just so pumped to play there.

“I have been there loadsm I literally went five, six years in a row when I was a kid and just love the atmosphere there.

“I think it's a lot of kids dreams to play there.

“It was mine and still is mine for sure so I’m definitely looking forward it to."

Peniston will also be heading to Wimbledon on a high after advancing to the last eight in Eastbourne.

After beating number eight seed Holger Rume in the first round, Peniston dug deep to beat world number 49 Pedro Martinez in a match which had to be finished this morning having been suspended the night before."

Echo: Excited - Ryan Peniston cannot wait to line up at WimbledonExcited - Ryan Peniston cannot wait to line up at Wimbledon

And, despite going on to suffer a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to fellow Brit Jack Draper later in the day, the former Southend High School pupil is leaving Sussex on a high.

“It’s been great and it’s been really nice playing here in Eastbourne,” said Peniston.

“I’ve had some good wins and played some good tennis too.

“I think the best thing for me this week is that I have been able to back up the performances from last week so I’m really happy.

“Physically I’m feeling good too and just cannot wait for next week now and it’s going to be really cool playing there.”


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