Although the four participants' resumes are decorated and the tennis put on display at Charbonneau Tennis Club is high-caliber, the annual men's doubles exhibition match is as much about good-natured ribbing as it is ripping forehands.
This year's match pitted current Charbonneau Tennis Club professional Craig Koessler and former All-West Coast Conference player and Mountain Park Racquet Club tennis professional Marco Pineda against United States Tennis Association Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame member Brian Joelson and Multnomah Athletic Club professional tennis coach Paul Reber. Joelson and Reber got the better of their opponents — winning the pro set 8-4.
"It's our big event of the year. It's a celebration of our club, a celebration of summer and a celebration of tennis," Koessler said.
While Koessler and Joelson played in last year's exhibition, Reber and Pineda replaced former mixed doubles champion Travis Parrott and Mike Tammen this year. Every player besides Joelson is a current tennis professional while Joelson used to teach the sport at Charbonneau Tennis Club.
"A lot of it is availability and we would like to have some variety as well. These guys, except for Brian, who used to teach tennis here, are all teaching pros in the area and both of them are fairly new to the area. It gives them a little bit of exposure as well," Koessler said.
Pineda held serve in the opening game and during Reber's subsequent service game, he joked that Reber would give one free lesson to club members for every one of his double faults. But despite a couple astray serves in the game, Reber also won his service game.
Koessler lost his first service game and then hit a sweeping return for a winner to go to deuce on Joelson's service game. However, Joelson boomed a couple heavy serves to give his team a 3-1 lead. On the final point of the game, Joelson asked Reber where he wanted it. Reber didn't respond but after Joelson hit an ace up the middle, he said "Right there."
Joelson and Reber then took a 5-2 lead on an eventful point in which Pineda executed a between the legs shot and agile return shot only to watch Joelson smack an overhead for a winner.
The onsite linesman got in on the hijinks in the next game — pretending to refuse to pick up the ball nestled a few feet from him following a point.
Koessler held serve to cut his opponents' lead to 7-4 but Joelson's big serve was too much and Joelson and Reber closed the match with an 8-4 victory.
To keep the tennis going, they played a tiebreak and Joelson and Pineda teamed up against Reber and Koessler. At one point, Reber jokingly complained that the net was too high and Pineda responded by wondering if he would then say the service box was too small. In the end, Joelson and Pineda pulled out a 10-7 victory — leaving Koessler winless.
Koessler was frustrated with the way he played but was glad club members witnessed great competition.
"It's frustrating not to play well, and I didn't play as well as I would have hoped. They tried to give me a couple games there and I couldn't even get those. They are really, really good players. For our members to be able to see the game played at this level; when we have Travis Parrott out there, he's a mixed doubles champion, you don't get much higher than that as far as tournament accomplishments. It's fun for them to be able to see the game played at that level," he said.
And Koessler enjoyed the wit and comedic jabs hurled throughout the round.
"When you're playing in tournaments for ranking or pro tournaments it's a bit more serious. Doubles always adds a little bit more camaraderie, usually between partners more than the opponents, but the jabbing and needling that goes on is pretty much exhibition match fare," he said.