Johannesburg: Top South African doubles tennis player Raven Klaasen has revealed that he has teamed up with Indian doubles icon and former world number one Leander Paes for next year.
The 20th world-ranked Klaasen decided to team up with Paes, an eight-times grand slam doubles winner, eight times runner-up and with 54 ATP doubles titles to his credit to play in 2015.
Klaasen enjoyed what was easily the best year of his tennis career in 2014 in partnership with American Eric Butorac, with whom he reached the final of the Australian Open grand slam event and won five ATP titles, Sport24 reported.
Paes was troubled by injuries this year, with his long and illustrious career apparently on the decline.
Klaasen said that cutting ties with Butorac was one of the most difficult decisions he has made in his life. Klaasen had just returned from his honeymoon when he made the announcement.
He said that it was not only because his career took a dramatic upward turn in partnership with Butorac, adding that he enjoyed such a good relationship off the court as well and were really good friends.
Klaasen claimed that it was difficult confronting Butorac and telling him of his decision, adding that he was not looking for another partner at all. He said that when Paes approached him a couple of months ago to play together in 2015, he was both excited and flattered, but also faced with the realisation that he had a very good thing going with Butorac.
The South African said that the invitation from Paes came like a bolt out of the blue, adding that there are not too many other players who would have caused him to make the switch.
Klaasen said that Paes was always one of the fittest and fastest players on a doubles court, adding that he is now in pretty good shape.
Klaasen said the reason for changing his doubles partner was that his ambition remained to win a grand slam title during his career and he believed he could achieve this with Paes.
Klaasen and Paes will play together in the Auckland Open in New Zealand early in the New Year and then go onto Melbourne for the Australian Open, the report added.