Johannesburg - South African Davis Cup stalwart Raven Klaasen and veteran 41-year-old Indian icon Leander Paes on Sunday fell in the doubles final at the Chennai Open, in India, in the opening tournament of their new partnership.
The top-seeded Klaasen and Paes were beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in the final by Great Britain's Jonathan Marray and Chinese Tapei's Yen-Hsun Lu.
Marray, a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2012, won his first ATP title since then.
He dovetailed perfectly with Lu and the pair never dropped a service or even came close to losing one in the final.
"Despite the loss in the final it was a satisfactory start considering we were playing in the first tournament since we agreed to get together in 2015," Klaasen said.
"Doubles is very much a case of knowing about your partner's way of playing and forming a closely knit combination.
"In this respect both Leander and I learnt a lot about each other in the Chennai tournament and I'm happy with our overall performances."
Paes echoed the sentiment.
"We performed as well as could have been expected in our first outing - and I love playing with Raven," Paes said.
Klaasen and Paes beat the Spanish combination of Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals.
The 20th world-ranked Klaasen raised eyebrows with the surprise announcement last month that he was terminating a successful partnership with the United States' Eric Butorac, with whom he reached the Australian Open final.
An eight-times Grand Slam doubles winner, Paes has been hampered by injuries during the past two years and his reputation as one of the world's leading doubles players has suffered as a consequence.
However, Klaasen said he had made the surprise decision to terminate the partnership with Butorac because he believed there was a better chance of achieving his ambition to become a Grand Slam winner with Paes.
Paes was now playing in his 25th year on the international tennis circuit.