New Delhi : 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 (Sharan 68 and Raja 69) 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.

Paes, ranked 59, has paired with Raja and Sharan with Germany’s Andre Begemann, who is placed 66.

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. Eventually the cut was 155.

Sharan explained that split was the only sensible option under prevailing circumstances.

“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 PTI.

Paes said he is looking forward to a good partnership with Raja. “I have seen Purav grow all these years. He has really come up well and I believe we can pull off something big together,” Paes said about Raja who will be the 119th partner for him overall.