'So sweet': Tennis world melts over Australian Open champion's dad

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·Sports Editor
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Sofia Kenin may have won the Australian Open, but her father won the internet on Saturday night.

Daring and defiant, the 21-year-old crowned her stunning rise to sporting superstardom with a drama-charged Australian Open final triumph over Garbine Muguruza.

‘SUFFERING’: Muguruza's heartbreaking Aus Open runner-up speech

As a child prodigy earmarked for greatness since she was five, it's no surprise Kenin felt destined to win before a ball was even hit at Melbourne Park.

Alexander and Sofia Kenin, pictured here after the Australian Open final.
Alexander and Sofia Kenin. Image: Getty

"At home I was envisioning each round, how I would play and how it would be emotional and everything," Kenin said after realising a lifelong dream with a 4-6 6-2 6-2 win in the final.

"My dream has officially come true. I cannot even describe this feeling. It is so emotional."

That emotion was evident in her father, who has coached Kenin her whole life.

Alexander Kenin endured a rollercoaster of emotions during Saturday night’s final, breaking down in tears during his daughter’s victory speech.

Fans immediately fell in love with Alexander, especially when he was spotted filming his daughter’s speech on his I-phone.

Kenin pays tribute to hard-working dad

Kenin paid tribute to her father when she was shown some highlights of his reactions while watching the final in the crowd.

“Oh, my God! He was so nervous,” Sofia told Channel Nine.

“I kind of got a bit intense, as you can see. But I am so grateful for my dad.

“I am just so happy. I love this moment with my dad. I love you, dad. We work so hard. I love you so much. And, Mum, I love you too, of course.”

With barely $400 in his pocket, Alexander fled the Soviet Union with his wife Svetlana and studied English by day while driving a cab at night in the hope of giving his family a better life.

Twenty three years on and Alexander's preciously talented daughter is now a grand slam champion, world No.7 and the youngest American to crack the top 10 since the great Serena Williams in 1999.

"This was a great moment for us. We were in a rough patch. I had to work my way up and not let things stop me," Kenin said.

"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."

For Kenin and Alexander, all that hard work now culminates in the $4.12 million winner's purse and the coveted Daphne Akhurst Trophy.

"I was overlooked for some time, but this was a different experience, different attention," said Kenin, who will leapfrog Williams and Madison Keys to become the new US No.1 following her breakthrough.

"I tried to calm down and not focus on the interest to what I wanted to do. I wanted to win this trophy and I was ready to leave everything out there."

with AAP

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