OEIRAS, Portugal - For tennis players, the opportunity to sample the Olympic spirit comes around once every four years. Except, that is, if your name is Elena Vesnina.
Next February, a few weeks after the conclusion of 2014's first major, the Australian Open, Vesnina will watch the world's greatest sporting event from the comfort of her hometown of Sochi in Russia, which is hosting the 22nd Winter Olympics.
While Vesnina has already experienced the Games' magic first hand - she was a part of the Russian team in both 2008 and 2012 - with the Winter edition on her doorstep she was not about to pass up the chance to get involved once more - even if it means putting her tennis commitments on hold for a week or two.
"I really want to be there," Vesnina said. "I think I will take some time off to watch some sport and to support Russia!"
The Russian has enjoyed a sparkling start to the season, winning her first career title, in Hobart, climbing back into the Top 30 for the first time in three years as well as winning the doubles crown at Indian Wells.
This week Vesnina is in Oeiras, a region that she believes shares more than a few similarities with Sochi.
"Sochi looks a lot like here - we have the sea close by but also we are just 45 minutes away from the mountains," Vesnina said after her first round win over Maria Joao Koehler. "The mountain area is called Red Valley and you can ski there in the winter, but in the city in summer it's really hot and you can swim in the sea."
And, unsurprisingly for someone who spends 10 months of the year chasing the sun around the globe, Vesnina is a fan of the city's friendly climate.
"We have really nice nature - it's green and very pretty. And even though it is a little colder in the winter, in the city it is never below zero. I'm not a typical Russian and I like to live in a place where it's always warm and nice and I don't have to wear a coat for 12 months!"