'Not an easy decision': Former Aus Open champ's sad split with father

·4-min read
Sofia Kenin and her former coach father Alex are seen celebrating her tennis success in these photos.
Sofia Kenin confirmed on social media that she's parted ways with her father as coach, weeks out from the French Open. Pic: Getty

Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin has dropped a bombshell just weeks out from the French Open after revealing that she's sacked her father as her tennis coach.

American Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up in 2020, has worked alongside her father since she burst onto the tennis scene as a teenager.

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Now 22, the World No.4 took to social media to explain the massive news to the tennis world and her fans.

The post included a photo of Kenin and her dad, Alex, posing with the Australian Open trophy last year.

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"I wanted to let everyone know that after many years together I have decided to part ways with my father as my coach," said the post.

"This was not an easy decision for me as we shared many great moments together and had a lot of success.

"I will be forever grateful for my dad's sacrifice and contributions towards getting me to where I am today."

Tennis fans reacted to news of the brutal split, with some insisting it had been a long time coming.

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Kenin's father has been a constant presence at the 22-year-old's side on tour and in the stands, and was sometimes warned by chair umpires for coaching during matches, which isn't allowed at major tournaments.

That happened during the fourth round of last year's French Open, when Alex Kenin also switched seats and plopped himself down right next to the coach of Sofia's opponent (so much for social distancing amid a pandemic).

About a decade before Kenin was born, her parents moved from Moscow to New York City.

Alex took English classes, going to computer school during the day and driving for a car service at night. Then, just before their daughter was born, the family returned to Russia.

Later, they went back to New York and eventually settled in Florida, which Kenin still calls home.

Seen here, Sofia Kenin's father Alex gives her a pep talk during a tennis match.
Sofia Kenin's father and former coach Alex has been by the tennis star's side throughout her career. Pic: Getty

American hoping to rediscover 2020 form

She had been as far as the fourth round only once at any Grand Slam tournament before collecting her first major championship in Australia last year.

That was followed with a run into the final at Roland Garros in October before losing to Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

Kenin has been going through a slower start to 2021, with a record of just 7-7 heading into the Italian Open next week on red clay.

In her first grand slam appearance as the defending Australian Open champion, she lost in straight sets to Kaia Kanepi in the second round at Melbourne Park in February.

That began a stretch in which Kenin has lost five of her six most recent matches.

"I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to putting together a new technical team in the coming weeks ahead," Kenin wrote. "I can't wait to get back on the court next week in Rome."

with AAP

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