Great Britain’s Ryan Peniston has said overcoming cancer as a toddler has taught him how to handle defeats on the court after being knocked out of Wimbledon this week.
The 26-year-old said that enduring years of hospital treatment had had a “huge impact” on his mindset, and helped him put his sporting losses in perspective.
Britain’s sixth-ranked men’s player beat Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen on day one of the championships, before he was defeated by America’s Steve Johnson on day three.
At the age of one, Peniston, from Southend in Essex, suffered with rhabdomyosarcoma, a tumour near his stomach, which required surgery and chemotherapy before years of regular check-ups.
Peniston has previously attributed his late blooming in tennis to battling this as a youngster, as he grew up “a foot smaller than all my peers”.
Speaking with the PA news agency on Saturday, he said: “It’s made a huge impact on me.
“As a kid it was a really tough start to life. It was tough on my family and everyone around me.
“But I think it’s only made me stronger.
“Seeing a lot of families going through similar things is quite humbling and it puts tennis into perspective.
“It’s just given me a lot of strength and made me tougher as a person.”
When asked if the ordeal had helped him deal with his defeats, he said: “One hundred per cent.
“If I have a tough loss – obviously I want to win badly, every match – but sometimes I come off the court after a loss and think, there could be a lot worse things happening.
“It definitely helps with stuff like that.”
Peniston added that he wants to use his increased profile after appearing at Wimbledon this year to help children with cancer.
“I’ve been in talks with some people at Young Lives Vs Cancer, they’re definitely a foundation that I think are doing amazing things,” he said.
“Any cancer awareness and help I could give to the families would be amazing.”
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