Sofia Kenin won the Australian Open. Her father, Alexander, won hearts.
Kenin, 21, claimed her maiden Grand Slam title by defeating Garbine Muguruza in three sets on Rod Laver Arena. After match point, she went straight to her dad, sitting in her player’s box as he has throughout the tournament.
The eyes of the tennis world were watching as the presentation unfolded, along with plenty of television cameras.
Yet Alexander Kenin was not going to miss this moment. He could have gotten a recording of it from anywhere, but instead decided to film the post-match ceremony on his iPhone.
It was peak dad stuff and tennis figures loved it.
Alexander Kenin and his wife, Svetlana, fled the Soviet Union in 1987, with about $300 to their name and no English. They settled in Florida, a major hub of US tennis. Alexander took computer courses during the day and drove cabs at night in pursuit of a better life.
Sofia had a racquet in her hand at age three and was already displaying special talent by age five. Her father was her coach – and remained so as they claimed the Daphne Akhurst Trophy together at Melbourne Park; along with a winner’s cheque for more than $4 million.
“I think it gives her some toughness. I don’t think she experienced that much, all the sacrifices that we had to go through, but she knows about them,” Alexander told reporters before the final.
“It’s amazing, the things you do when you need to survive. She knows about them, but thank God she didn’t have to experience them.”
Sofia said after her victory: “I feel like toughness was a huge part of my success here. I handled it really well, and this is just beyond incredible right now. I have no words.
“This was a great moment for us [as a family] . We were in a rough patch. I had to work my way up and not let things stop me.
“I had a goal and dream and I was ready to do it, and these last two weeks I took each match one step at a time and not let emotions get the better of me.”
Kenin, 21, is set to rise to world No.7 after claiming her maiden Slam. Alexander Kenin will always have that personal video to remember the moment.