Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova talk coaching changes ahead of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, as Halep adds Andrei Pavel and Pliskova splits with David Kotyza.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
September 25, 2017

WUHAN, China - World No.2 Simona Halep says so far, so good when it comes to her recent decision to add former ATP player Andrei Pavel to her coaching team. Pavel, who also hails from Halep's hometown of Constanta, hit a career-high of No.13 in 2004 and subsequently coached Tamira Paszek and Jelena Jankovic. Halep announced the hire the day after her first round exit at the US Open. 

"I knew before the US Open," Halep told reporters at All Access Hour at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. "Darren said he wants him in the team and of course I agreed in the first second because I liked Andrei always. He said it was going to be a good spirit in our team and a little bit of a different voice. 

"I liked a lot his style, his backhand, so I saw a little bit that we are similar. Also the legs. Big legs."
Simona Halep

"I chose him because of his experience. He was in the Top 15, No.13 -- my lucky number, actually. He was my idol when I was 10 or 11 when I was growing up in Romania. I liked a lot his style, his backhand, so I saw a little bit that we are similar. Also the legs. Big legs," she said with a laugh.

"So I thought he was going to be a very good for us. But we'll see. We are just in a trial period for these months and then we'll decide."

If Halep qualifies, Darren Cahill will rejoin the team at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. With Cahill not traveling full-time, Halep says she saw value in having another experienced coach with her at home and on the road. After her first-round loss to Maria Sharapova at the US Open, Halep took just five days off before getting back on the practice court, with the primary focus being her serve. 

"When Darren is not with me then for sure Andrei is with me," Halep said. "And also in Romania, I needed someone good for the training at home. I don't like to train alone. 

"He's a very nice person and also I'm having fun with him. It's more relaxed, so it's matching the team with Darren because both of them are relaxed."
Simona Halep

"I like it a lot. He's a very nice person and also I'm having fun with him. It's more relaxed, so it's matching the team with Darren because both of them are relaxed. He's working hard with me and also we have the same mentality because he was also growing up in Romania."

Along with Halep, World No.4 Karolina Pliskova also made a coaching change after the US Open, opting to split with coach David Kotyza. The two paired up during the off-season and under his tutelage, Pliskova made her first French Open semifinal and reached World No.1 after Wimbledon. 

"There were a few more things, but the main thing was that I saw my game little bit different way than he did, so that's why I decided it's going to be better for a change," Pliskova said when asked about her decision. 
  
"I don't want to talk about his vision, but my vision is that I'm still an aggressive player, but not a player which needs one shot to win a point. I can play a few times a few rallies. I'm fine with that. I still want to be aggressive, maybe sometimes more than I am. But, yeah, like I said, a little bit different vision than him."

Pliskova has yet to name a new coach.