Ryan Peniston hopes new-found fame can help him spread cancer awareness

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Ryan Peniston is eager to use his raised profile to help others with cancer after being humbled by one social media message in particular over the last week.

The 26-year-old from Southend enjoyed a memorable run to the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club and it was during the cinch Championships that he discovered a wild card entry to Wimbledon had been awarded to him.

British number seven Peniston failed to qualify for the singles’ competition at the All England Club in 2019 and 2021 but will this year go to SW19 riding on the crest of a wave after reaching the last eight at tournaments in Surbiton and Nottingham.

A new career-best ranking of 146 will be official on Monday and the journey is all the more sweeter for a player who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer, at the age of one. It required surgery and chemotherapy before regular check-ups for years afterwards.

“It has been really nice actually. I have had a lot of nice messages and support from people,” Peniston said ahead of competing at the Rothesay International Eastbourne.

“I took a little time yesterday just to relax and chill out. It is starting to sink in but it has been a really nice couple of days.

“Maybe one message that really stood out was Young Lives vs Cancer, they reposted my story and I really enjoyed that. That was nice.

“That is one of the big things I would like to do in my career, to spread awareness and do what I can to help people going through similar things.”

Peniston will face teenager Holger Rune – fresh from making the quarter-finals at the French Open – in the first round at Eastbourne in a similar twist of fate to his time in west London where he kicked off a great week with a fine win over Roland Garros runner-up Casper Ruud.

He added: “Obviously Holger is a really good player, like everyone in this tournament, they are all great players.

“It is definitely a good lead-up tournament and another great British grass event to play. I am thankful for the opportunity given to me this week and will hope to capitalise on it.

“Probably three weeks ago I wasn’t that used to playing in front of home crowds but it has been super nice to have British fans there cheering me. I try to use it as a positive.”

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