When Hantuchova reached the quarter-finals at last year's Australian Open there was no hint of the torturous year to come.
World ranking: 18
Australian Open best:
2002: 3rd round
2001: 1st round
It was no disgrace to lose to Venus Williams in Melbourne but the fact that Hantuchova failed to win three successive matches throughout the rest of 2003 tells its own story.
Constantly quizzed by the media over her increasingly slender figure and struggling desperately for form, the 20-year-old was reduced to on-court tears on more than one occasion.
At Roland Garros, defeat to rising American star Ashley Harkleroad led to more comparisons of the players' looks than their games, which was particularly harsh on the Slovakian.
Having made serene progress into the world's top 10 the previous year with a powerful baseline game, the wheels came off in 2003.
Another emotional defeat at the US Open, this time to Tamarine Tanasugarn, led to a dreadful end of year that finished with three successive defeats.
British coach Nigel Sears was dispensed with at the end of the season and the hope is that Hantuchova has been able to regain her form and, more importantly, peace of mind in the off-season.