NEW YORK, NY, USA - Simona Halep could be forgiven for feeling slightly sorry for herself after her first-round defeat to Maria Sharapova at the US Open.
Thrice this summer she's competed in one of the most compelling Slam matches of 2017 - but, just as in the Roland Garros final against Jelena Ostapenko and the Wimbledon quarterfinal against Johanna Konta, the Romanian ended up on the losing end. The No.2 seed, furthermore, has been one match away from seizing the World No.1 spot - but a heavy defeat to Garbiñe Muguruza in the Cincinnati final followed the Paris and London losses to add to Halep's triptych of woes.
Moreover, the most consistent player on tour since March, who had come into Flushing Meadows on the back of 10 consecutive quarterfinal-or-better performances, saw that streak end unceremoniously after she had the misfortune of drawing the 2006 US Open champion, the wildcard Sharapova, in the opening round.
The 25-year-old refuses to consider herself unlucky, though. Following Monday's match, she told the press: "I feel I'm very lucky person that I have this life, the chance to play in the top for so many years."
Halep has since backed that sentiment up in a heartfelt Instagram post, writing: "I'm really lucky person actually for everything I have around me. My life, my family, my friends and my TEAM and of course the tennis!"
Promising that she would renew her efforts to improve, she also announced the addition of former ATP World No.13 Andrei Pavel, who also hails from Halep's home town of Constanta in Romania, to her team (while clarifying that he is not a replacement for current coach Darren Cahill).
The 43-year-old Pavel notched up nine years in the Top 100 between 1998 and 2007, winning three titles and reaching the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2002. He has previously coached Jelena Jankovic and Tamira Paszek. "It's an honor for me to have him around. I'm sure that I have many things to learn from his experience and advice," wrote Halep.