Vastavam web: Leander Paes has teamed up with fellow Mumbaikar Purav Raja, who is only the seventh Indian to have paired with the veteran legend on the Pro circuit, for the Winston-Salem Open and the US Open.Raja formed a very successful pairing with the left- handed Divij Sharan but since they failed to defend 250 points at Los Cabos, where they won the title last year, they lost 15 places each in the ranking list.With their combined rank of 137 they anticipated that as a team they would not have entered the US Open, where the cut last year was around 130, and they decided to split.
The deadline to send entry was August 18. However as it turned out, a lot of singles players chose not to play the doubles and the cut did not come out as strong as expected.”Yes, we could have entered together but we would have known only last minute. If we could not get in together, then we would have struggled to find partner at the last minute because everyone would have fixed the team. Or maybe only one of us would have found a partner, so we had to take a call early,” Sharan told.Wild cards Paes and Raja will open their campaign against Paolo Lorenzi and Franko Skugor in their first match together on Pro circuit at the Winston-Salem Open, beginning tomorrow.
They have played together in the past in the Davis Cup tie against Korea in 2013 in New Delhi when top singles players had boycotted the rubber due to a dispute with the AITA on playing conditions.In the Davis Cup, Paes teamed up with Bhupathi, Zeeshan Ali, Ramesh Krishnan, Vishal Uppal, Fazaluddin Syed, Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, Sanam Singh and Saketh Myneni.