Roger Federer has a lot to look forward to as he heads to the Australian Open. An amazing track record for the event clearly has him enthused and full of anticipation — but, in this emotional interview, he’s also thoughtful and nostalgic as he reflects on his past. As he speaks about the influence of his former coach Peter Carter and the way he helped shape Federer’s early career, their bond is obvious. Carter discovered Federer and coached him — in fact, Federer says he has Carter to thank for the technique he has today.

Carter passed away unexpectedly 16 years ago, during a car crash while on his honeymoon. As this tennis great remembers one of his earliest mentors, it’s clear he carries Carter with him every time he steps foot on the court. You can see the CNN interview here:

Though Carter wasn’t around to see Federer win his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, his memory is never far from the court. For many tennis fans, we only see the finished project — the incredible power and precision that a tennis prodigy has. We don’t see the hours of coaching, physically and emotionally, or appreciate the bond that can form through that process. Going into the Australian Open, Federer has a lot of momentum — but he also has the power of his past experience, and Carter is a key part of that.