Though the second birthday party for Russian toddler Elizaveta Pavlovna Tabunstova was more muted given the quarantine conditions, mother and reigning Olympic champion Elena Vesnina nonetheless ensured a celebration took place—one that lacked neither the joy nor fairytale trappings any daughter would love.

“She fills us with love,” Vesnina said earlier this month. “She’s a very happy, active baby. She loves to dance, sing, and talks non-stop. She’s our entire life.”


The former Wimbledon semifinalist and four-time major doubles champion has found something worth celebrating nearly every day since little Liza was born in November of 2018—marking each of her first 12 months with an elaborate cake—and plans to bring daughter, who already has her own Instagram account, along for the first steps of an announced comeback planned for later this year.

“It’s very exciting. It’s been so long, almost two years since I’ve been on the court to play a match. It’s so different from practicing, and so I’m a little bit excited, but also scared and worried at the same time.

“I’m looking forward to being able to fly with Liza, to show her what mama is doing, and to compete again. I still feel like I have some gas in the tank, and that I can do it. When I no longer feel this way, I’ll stop immediately, but right now, I feel like I’m ready and this is what I want.”

Living outside Moscow with Liza and husband Pavel, Vesnina did all she could to make quarantine another adventure for her first born, and is eager to expand her world with a return to tour life.

“We’ve spent a lot of time reading, painting. During this pandemic time, we didn’t feel like we missed something. Of course, it was still tough, especially not to be able to see our parents—Liza’s grandparents—and we couldn’t go all of the places that baby liked to go, but right now, for her, life with mom and dad next to her was fine.


“As she gets older, she does like to have other kids around her; she likes to play in groups because she’s very friendly. She’s talking already, so she can communicate with other babies, so it’ll be perfect to bring her on tour because then she might start learning from English!”

Even as the former doubles No. 1 steps back into the spotlight, Liza, “the main person in the family,” will remain top priority as Vesnina learns to balance her dual roles of elite athlete and super mom.

“With her, every day is a party, because the most important thing is her health. When she’s healthy, I don’t need anything else.”