Hollywood star Ray Winstone backing Southend tennis star Ryan Peniston to be Wimbledon hit

Ray Winstone: taking a crack at becoming a real-life Jerry Maguire. Credit: PA Images

Hollywood actor Ray Winstone has swapped the acting racket for a role as a real-life Jerry Maguire.

The star of smash hit movies like Sexy Beast and the Oscar-winning The Departed is the co-founder of a sports management company - which has just signed up one of British sport's break-out stars of the summer.

It is a case of art mirroring life for Winstone. In the movie Tom Cruise plays a sporting agent who thinks his business could be done differently.

That was a similar philosophy behind Winstone teaming up with Gary Pettit to form Integral Sporting Management.

And on the books is Southend tennis player Ryan Peniston. The 26-year-old overcame cancer as a toddler, and is set to make his Wimbledon singles debut this week, having made a run to the quarter-finals of Queens a fortnight ago.

Peniston was diagnosed at the age of one with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer, which required surgery and chemotherapy before regular check-ups for years afterwards.

In an interview with the Southend Echo, the actor said: "Ryan’s got such heart and bottle and for him to fulfil his dream of getting to Wimbledon is brilliant."

Peniston will not be the only player form the region competing - the Norfolk Wheelchair tennis trio of Alfie Hewett, Ruby Bishop and Ben Bartram are also expected to take part.

Both Ben Bartram and Ruby Bishop have landed titles this month.

At the weekend Bartram, 16, from Sprowston near Norwich won the Alghero Open Mens Singles final in Sardinia, against Germany's Anthony Dittmar. Bartram won in straight sets, which certainly sets him up for the Wimbledon competitions.

Meanwhile earlier this month Bishop, 17, from Norwich won her first senior women's doubles at the Lithuanian Open after partnering Louise Willserslev-Olsen.