How Kenin’s dad prepared her to be tennis champion
Alexander Kenin has worn the slings and arrows over the past 13 days as the latest despised example of grand slam tennis's stereotypical parent.
Largely anonymous to most Australians until his daughter the cynics refer to as his pay cheque steamed to Melbourne Park title contention, Kenin was predictably cast into the role as overzealous villain.
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From the moment Sofia Kenin appeared in the tunnel under Rod Laver Arena last night, Alexander Kenin was his usual fidgety self, darting from door to door, distributing towels to the family's support crew.
On court, sitting in the front row of the northern end players' box, Kenin senior squirmed, grimaced and rode every single point of the Australian Open final as his daughter clawed her way to title success over Garbine Muguruza.
It was a familiar ordeal for the Russian émigré, whose dreams of making it big in the New World were no different to the parents of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang.
Alexander Kenin's journey from Moscow to New York to Florida - without a word of English - to producing a tennis prodigy sits at the essence of the sport and American ideals of fresh beginnings.
Wearing his trademark green, white and red Fila tracksuit top, Kenin senior suffered through the third consecutive women's final classic here.
When it was over, stunned realisation struck for a quirky character who has made his daughter's career a priority over everything else in his life.
As a tennis novice, he has learnt the hard way that tennis etiquette is not an option.
He has fought with himself - and his passions - for as long as Sofia has held a racquet.
As victory loomed, he could barely watch, agonising over the possibilities.
When Muguruza cruelly double-faulted on match point, the Kenin family's sense of destiny had been met.
At the other end of the court, Muguruza's coach Conchita Martinez was far more subdued.
The 1994 Wimbledon champion's had been put through the mill as a player and has used those experiences to positive effect in revitalising mercurial Murguruza's career.
As always, and as it should be, the match was decided between the four lines - not outside them.
The two-all game in the deciding set will stand forever as the defining junction of the final.
Trailing 0-40, Kenin faced - and embraced - fate, rifling four winners and an ace to halt rejuvenated Muguruza push.
On Monday, Kenin will leapfrog Serena Williams as US No. 1, bank a winner's cheque of $4 million and be celebrated as the epitome of the classic American success story.
And so will her father.