Young Elizaveta Tabunstova took her very first tennis lesson earlier this week and couldn’t have asked for a better coach across the net in mother Elena Vesnina.

The former doubles No. 1 left tennis in 2018 to give birth to her first child. After giving Liza, still just three years old, a front-row seat to her 2021 comeback—during which she reached two major finals and won an Olympic silver medal—Vesnina is now channeling that early exposure into part of what she plans to be a comprehensive education.


“I’m trying to give Liza as much as I can,” she told me back in 2020. “I want to teach her the piano and dancing, because for girls especially, it’s good to have rhythm. Maybe next, I’ll teach her to play tennis, and see how she likes it. If she does, I’ll be happy to help her play more.”

Though Vesnina shared just a short practice clip, Liza appears to already display an impressive aptitude for tennis, one that will likely grow as mother and daughter move from the backyard to the tennis court.

“I want to teach her to be a brave and loving person,” says Vesnina. “I want to teach her how to be free, to not be afraid of making a first step in anything, even when it’s difficult.”

No word yet on whether Liza has begun to copy her mother's inimitable "Aiya!" grunt.