Klaasen, Paes 'divorce' official

2015-06-09 14:50
Raven Klaasen (Getty Images)
Cape Town - The much-publicised and in many ways shock betrothal between top South African doubles player Raven Klaasen and legendary eight-time grand slam winner Leander Paes was last month declared "a temporary separation" for the claycourt segment of the international tennis season.

Now, however, the separation has turned into a deflating "divorce" before the forthcoming Wimbledon grasscourt grand slam event - and inclusive of all other tournaments this year.

This was confirmed on Monday by Klaasen's coach and manager, Stefan de Kock, who also revealed that the South African doubles specialist would now pair up with American Rajeev Ram, starting with the present Netherlands ATP Tour tournament.

De Kock said the final break with Paes, who has now teamed up with the similarly acclaimed Daniel Nestor, was settled amicably.

But after the 32-year-old Klaasen enjoyed the best year of his tennis career in 2014 in partnership with Eric Butorac, reaching the final of the Australian Open and climbing to a career-best world doubles ranking of 18th, the break-up with Paes has all the ingredients of a publicised wedding speedily going wrong.

A dream launch to  the South African's partnership with Paes at the start of the year resulted in Klaasen and India's 41 year-old icon winning the Heineken Open ATP doubles title in Auckland, New Zealand and ending runners-up in the Chennai Open and the Delray Beach Open. But a systematic downward slide in results then gripped the pair.

Unlike his pairing with Butorac in 2014, Klaasen and Paes were this year bundled out of the Australian Open in the second round.

Then, after second round defeats against Italy's Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini at both the Indian Wells and Miami Masters tournaments, the Indo-South African pairing split before the  Monte Carlo Masters event for what was supposedly only the claycourt tournament circuit leading up to and including the recently concluded French Open.

Klaasen's partnership in claycourt tournaments with the Netherlands' Robin Haase, the Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol  and finally Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu in the French Open met with little success.

De Kock added that Klaasen and Paes remained "good friends", but the intention right now was to cement a permanent partnership with the 41st ATP-doubles ranked Ram.

Klaasen's world doubles ranking, meantime, has slipped to 28th from 18th towards the end of last year.

Commenting on  the constant change of partners, South African Davis Cup captain Earl Grainger said it was not his "business" whom Klaasen plays with on the ATP circuit.

"He remains our top doubles player," added Grainger, "and a key member of the squad that will take on Ireland in July in the critical tie to avoid relegation from the Euro-Africa Group Two segment of the Davis Cup."

As for the ATP circuit, the likeable Klaasen might now be having second thoughts about parting ways with Butorac.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  wimbledon  |  raven klaasen  |  tennis

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