Men’s Night Doubles Under Way At Kailua Racquet Club

hat Kailua Racquet Club’s Blue Moon Men’s Night Doubles Tournament has managed to remain the signature tennis event in Hawaii for more than four decades has never kept the club from trying new things, especially if it means enhancing the experience for the spectator.

Indeed, the phrase “fan friendly” summarizes the event, which is free to the public. Background music played between points and post-game interviews with

the players via the public address system, for example, is an innovative staple of the tournament.

“Our philosophy always has been that we’re throwing a big party and every- one in attendance is our guest,” said Bruce Nagel, tournament director and club manager. “That’s the key to it. If you get people there, the players will want to come. We also always try to put together a really nice players’ pack- age.”

The field has steadily grown under Nagel’s leadership and has become a showcase for current and former college players with ties to Hawaii. When the 42nd annual event begins this Sunday (it runs through Aug. 4), 50 doubles teams will fill out the brackets, with defend- ing champions Michael Maata and Jan-Axel Tribler as headliners.

The fifth time around was the charm for Maata and Tribler last summer win the event after four previous appearances. The pair also won the other two events included in Hawaii’s new Triple Crown of Tennis — the Waikiki Tennis Club’s Clay Court Championships and the Oahu Club Men’s Night Doubles Tourna-ment.

“They’re a really fun team to watch,” Nagel said.

Maata and Tribler will be among the top seeds when the pairings are finalized. The tournament seeds the top eight teams, all of whom advance to the second week’s main round. The rest of the field will go through a qualifying round, which begins Sunday, in hopes of making the champi- onship round with the seeded teams.

Ikaika Jobe also is back after finishing as runner- up last year with then- teammate Thomas Shubert. He is expected to have a new partner this time around.

Nagel also noted that the team of Wei Yu Su and Minh Le also will take part this year. The pair won four straight Men’s Night Doubles tour- naments from 2005 to 2008 before a third-place finish in 2009. The pair did not compete last year. The third-place team of Bradley Lum-Tucker and Michael Wojnarovicz from 2011 also has committed to this year’s field.

In addition to Blue Moon Brewing Co., the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is among the tournament’s 2012 sponsors.