“I don’t know, but I hope so,” Kenin said on Sunday when asked if she could be No.1 this year.
“I would love to. That’s my dream, that’s what I thrive for and what I hope to get to.”
Kenin defeated Barty in the semi-finals but the talent in women’s tennis is as deep as it has been in a long time as shown by this year’s final, in which Kenin faced unseeded Spanish star Garbine Muguruza, who previously was world No.1 before sliding down the rankings.
Kenin and her family were soaking up the experience of her first major title as fans learned of their story of immigrating from Russia to America, where they discovered their daughter had a natural talent for tennis.
The young American admitted she was loving every minute of her win and would have a short break before turning her attention to her next run of tournaments.
“It’s sinking in slowly, this is like a dream come true and it’s a privilege to be here,” Kenin said.
“Every match wasn’t easy. I knew I had to focus on my game and myself and go step by step.
“I tried not to let the nerves get the better of me. In the position I was in, of course nerves are happening and a lot of things were going through my mind but I tried to take that away and focus on myself.”
Kenin’s steely resolve shone through during this tournament, including when she was down 0-40 on her serve early in the third set of the final.
Muguruza appeared poised to set-up a third grand slam win but Kenin refused to give up and saved the game.
“In the third set, that 2-2 game, I was really close, there was a lot of emotions happening,” Kenin said.
“Down 0-40 I knew I had to somehow put that aside or I wouldn’t be here. When I won that game I was fired up and ready to go.”
Kenin was an unknown to many fans at Melbourne Park and she admitted she wasn’t sure she would have many fans in the final after ending Barty’s hopes of winning her home event.
“I was super happy they were cheering for me as Garbine is a two-time grand slam champion,” Kenin said.
“I didn’t expect they would cheer for me after [I defeated] Ash but I felt like they were cheering for me, they really wanted me to win and that really boosted me up.
“I was so happy to have people cheering me on, saying ‘this is your time, your moment’. I thank them and told them I loved them.”
Kenin is looking forward to celebrating with some shopping and partying with her friends back home before turning her attention to top spot.
“It will be different now with the attention and everything,” Kenin said.
“I’m going to relax, take some time off and let it all sink in.”
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.