TENNIS: Ryan Peniston feels growing up in Great Wakering helped him win the first ATP Challenger event of his career.

The 27-year-old triumphed in Winnipeg last week, beating Leandro Riedi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the final.

And Peniston believes the windy conditions played a part in his memorable victory.

“The conditions worked in my favour as it was super windy which helped as I obviously grew up playing by the Southend coast,” said Peniston.

“Because of that I’m used to playing in the wind and I quite like it too.

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“It was really good and I was over the moon to get the win.”

Peniston - who grew up playing at Southend Lawn Tennis Club - had previously been beaten in three finals during his career.

But he was able to triumph this time around, despite losing the second set.

“After having lost three finals before and losing the second set, I was having negative thoughts,” admitted Peniston.

“But I managed to keep fighting and pull through to the end.

“I’ve just been taking it one match at a time one point at a time and I was over the moon with the win.

“I feel like it’s given me a lot of confidence that I can hopefully take into the next tournaments.”

Peniston’s success also saw his ranking rise 52 places up to 208 in the world.

And that has given the former Southend High School pupil a big boost moving forward.

“It definitely helps that my ranking has moved up and I’m just aiming to get it as high as I can during my career,” said the left-hander.

“I feel that I’ve been working hard the last few weeks and it’s good for my confidence too.”

But Peniston remains hungry for more and is already back in training.

“I’m in England training for the next two weeks,” said Peniston.

“After that I’ll be heading over to America for some more Challenger events and I’m really looking forward to it.”