Vesnina, a three-time major doubles champion who also owns an Olympic gold medal and a Grand Slam mixed doubles title, was pleasantly surprised to hear from her compatriot.
The 34-year-old, who gave birth to her first daughter Elizaveta in November 2018, was just beginning her comeback to the tour when her phone started buzzing.
"I was honestly surprised when I saw the message from him,” she said. “He texted me in February, I didn't even play Doha. He was like 'Oh hey, do you want to play mixed with me at the French?' and I'm like 'Aslan it's only February I don't know where I am right now, the level of my game.'"
Vesnina, who reached the third round in singles in Paris this year, was eager to test out the partnership that could end up as a possible Olympic pairing this summer at the Tokyo games.
“I really felt happy that the guy who just did the semi-finals at the Australian Open was asking me to play mixed doubles with him,” she said.
“I knew that I had lot of options, but nobody asked me. He was the first one that asked me, so I was like 'Let's play.'”
Karatsev had never played mixed doubles before this week in Paris, but he’s coming up to speed quickly thanks to the tutelage of Vesnina.