Andre Agassi is arguably the best player in the world on current form and his very public display of emotion after reaching his fourth Australian Open final went a long way to explaining why.
And it was not just because he had moved one step closer to forming a mixed doubles partnership with his wife, Steffi Graf.
The 32-year-old has stormed through the field at Melbourne Park and took even more delight in reaching his 14th Grand Slam final than he did in reaching his first, sending experienced Wayne Ferreira tumbling to a straight-sets defeat, 6-2 6-2 6-3, in just 88 minutes.
The three-times champion said: “It’s a great thing, it’s what you play for. You play to be here on the big occasions. These are moments you remember most so it’s very special for me.”
Family life – Agassi has a son to Graf – has put his career into perspective and he won the Australian Open in 2000 and 2001 and reached last year’s US Open final by playing with renewed enthusiasm.
“I think you appreciate everything in life more,” he said. “I think everything has deeper roots in your own heart and mind.
“Opportunities get fewer so they become more special. They become more disappointing, they become more enjoyable.
“Overall, I feel I’ve got stronger. I move better on court. I’m always striving to improve and hopefully I’m accomplishing that.”
If Agassi wins the final on Sunday, Graf has promised to come out of retirement and play mixed doubles at the French Open, while coach Darren Cahill will take the less drastic step of shaving his head.