Novel Name : God of Tennis

God of Tennis - Chapter 2.2

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Chapter 2.2
TL: Pineapple
Editor: Isalee
‘A different contract? What does he mean?’
The president smirked at their confused expressions. His face looked like that of a confident businessman that was somewhat unlikeable.
“You guys should know this. The level of tennis in our country.”
The president softly spoke.
What level is the sport at in Korea?
When the people in our country hear the word tennis, they think of ahjussis and grandpas playing with their rackets at the neighborhood parks near their apartments. Those who knew a little bit more about tennis would only think about Roger Federer or Maria Sharapova.
We don’t even remember the tennis players from our own country. No, we don’t know them. Of course, someone might know a pro player, but only a very few would know.
“In our country, tennis has become a sport for the elderly. There are no famous players. There aren’t any world-class players. That’s why tennis is in this state.”
The president’s eyes were burning like a wildfire unlike his voice that had a trace of self-restraint. He was angry. Han Woo Jin followed the president’s gaze and swallowed his saliva again. Gulp! You could hear someone next to him swallow as well. Choi Yeon Hyuk also couldn’t handle the ferociousness that the president was displaying.
Whether he knew what the two players were feeling or not, the president circled the room twice.
“In Korea, sports such as soccer and baseball have grown to the point where players join the world league. People are enthusiastic about news of Park Ji Sung’s goals and Choo Sin Soo’s home runs. But what about tennis?!?”
The president’s voice rose wildly and echoed throughout the room. Even though it wasn’t their fault, Han Woo Jin’s body shrank and he did his best to not lower his head. If he slightly dropped his head, it would be the same as completely dropping his head. Han Woo Jin listened to him speak with a burning gaze in his eyes.
“Our country’s players can’t even get into the top 30 in the world rankings. There isn’t any hope for them to win any of the major tournaments. Badminton is more popular than tennis and they’re basically the same, hitting the ball with a racket, but why is tennis so bad?!”
The president was basically yelling at this point but what he was saying was the truth.
The reality of Korean tennis was terrible. Lee Hyung Taek who was the hope for Korean tennis only lasted for a short while. After his career began, it only went downhill. Recently, a few young players were doing well but they didn’t amount to much on the world stage.
Compared to badminton where Korea did well in both the Olympics and world tournaments, Korean tennis was at a low skill level compared to other countries. Koreans were basically digging the earth because they were so low.
He took a deep breath and spoke to the coach.
“Coach Jeon, bring it out.”
“Yes, President.”
The coach did as the president had ordered and ripped open the envelopes. In the envelopes were stacks of over 20 pages of paperwork. Coach Jeon carefully put them on the table to not drop them.
The two players didn’t know if they could look at them or not so they just stared at the president and the coach.
“You guys can read them, but it’ll be better to listen to the explanation first.”
The two retracted their outstretched hands and shifted back to their polite postures. The president’s face softened after he saw them pull back their hands. His expression was as if he were looking at his grandchildren.
“Hoo… you guys don’t have to be so nervous. Since I’ve been stressed recently my voice might seem a bit rough… so, shall we get started?”
‘How can we not be nervous even though he told us not to be nervous?’ The two answered with rigid short answers. The president also knew what they were thinking. The president opened his mouth and softly laughed before he began speaking.
“There is only one main subject of the contract that I am going to present to you. Give and take.”
“Give and take?”
Han Woo Jin and Choi Yeon Hyuk didn’t understand what he was saying. When players joined a company with a contract, they would normally get a salary and support from the staff. What did it have to do with give and take?
“First, you guys should take a look at the first three pages. It’ll be better for you to read that first and then we’ll talk.”
There was the sound of rustling papers in both their hands. Han Woo Jin read with the determination of not missing a single word.
Affiliation: NK Special Player Team
Duration of contract: 5 years
Down payment: None
Salary: None
Travel allowance: Full coverage
Winning allowance: 100% of prize money
Runner-up allowance: 50% of prize money
‘This is unconventional.’
This was the first thing that popped up in his mind. According to this contract, he could partake in as many competitions as he wanted to in a year. This was a huge benefit, considering that one of the main reasons why Korean tennis players didn’t play internationally was because of the lack of funding,
No salary or down payment? That was no problem at all. On the contrary, the salary he would have received couldn’t compare the amount that they would spend on his tournament fees. Currently, the top-ranked tennis pros in Korea received $50,000 annually and $350,000 as extra financial support. In other words, the amount of money spent supporting players would be more than his annual salary.
Furthermore, with this contract, there wasn’t a limit for the amount of support they could receive. In other words, they could receive unlimited support.
“P-president. Are you serious?”
Unlike Choi Yeon Hyuk who didn’t understand the implications of this contract, Han Woo Jin who had been a tennis player for ten years felt like this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe in the past, only Choi Yeon Hyuk sat here and signed this contract. And in less than five years he would be the runner-up for Wimbledon which was one of the four major tournaments in the world.
The president nodded at Han Woo Jin who was still in doubt. He sincerely decided to nurture these two players into world-class pros.
“Why did you choose new players like us? And according to these terms, NK will spend enormous amounts of money on us.”
He could just ignore the fact that they were spending so much money on that. But throughout his life, Han Woo Jin realized that if you ignored uncertain things, they would come back to bite you later. In his point of view, the president looked like he appreciated his question.
“You’re right. If you guys don’t win any tournaments we will lose a lot of money. It is also a huge risk for us because there is no penalty for you. So, if you guys give up during the duration of the contract, we will experience a huge loss. You’re wondering why I’m still offering this contract right now even though it’s such a huge risk for me?”
Han Woo Jin nodded his head. Choi Yeon Hyuk still had no idea what was going on but through Han Woo Jin’s questions and the president’s words, he somewhat understood that this contract was a huge benefit for the players. The president met the serious gazes of the two players and turned around.
He cleared his throat and looked up at the ceiling.
“Because I like tennis.”
Han Woo Jin opened his mouth because of the unexpected answer.
‘Because you like tennis? That’s why you’re going to make a contract that could cost you several million?’ The president laughed when he saw Han Woo Jin’s doubtful and curious eyes.
The president closed his eyes and continued speaking.
“Hoo… Several million isn’t that much for me. I just want to see athletes from my country standing on world championship courts. For me, several million is nothing.”
His concept of money was completely different.
A player like Han Woo Jin couldn’t even imagine the scale of hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the president casually spoke of millions. If you need money, just call the president of NK company and he’ll give you several million, just like that.
“Actually, I can give you million-dollar salaries and promise many incentives. That’s not difficult. But do you know why I decided to not give you a down payment and a salary?”
Choi Yeon Hyuk was absent-minded but Han Woo Jin somewhat had an idea. He was a domestic player for over ten years and he saw the weaknesses of domestic players. The president was surprised that Han Woo Jin seemed to know what he was talking about.
‘Hoho, can this young man already see that far? How surprising.’
Currently, Korean tennis was stagnant. The reason for the stagnation was the indifference for the sport and lack of support. But above all, the most important reason was desperation.
It wasn’t enough whether Korean players wanted to win or if they knew that they could win. They needed to have the mentality of absolutely winning. Also, the introduction of a monthly salary for professional players who weren’t able to obtain sponsors due to the lack of publicity and popularity of tennis was growing larger and larger at the same time.
Tennis was a costly sport. However, in order to make good money, one had to at least reach the top 100 in the world rankings. Tennis players from all over the world would try their best to raise their skills in order to succeed as athletes and compete in tournaments in order to crazily increase their ranks. As their skills got better, their career experiences would gradually accumulate.
However, when Korean, Japanese, and other Asian athletes were guaranteed a stable income, they would choose to settle down. Why should they spend such large amounts of money in overseas tournaments with an uncertain chance of winning? Tennis players that live without the worry of money because of their salary lose their purpose and slowly start to decay and become rotten.
Sick and tired of these absurd situations, the NK president immediately made the decision to find young, outstanding players.
Now, there were two young men before him. Two young tigers that could fulfill his wish.
“Pros need ambition. I need a talented person who wants to win more any anyone else. We need that person to constantly push themselves past their limits.”
That’s when the president thought to himself, ‘What if I don’t give them a monthly salary or a down payment but pay for their full support as players?’
That’s how the outrageous offer to fully provide food, clothing, training, coaches, and travel expenses appeared. Only cash was not given to them. Based on the contract, in order to earn money, players would have to earn it with their own efforts.
“It won’t be easy. Although I’ll do everything I can, it won’t be easy. There’s a possibility that you guys might constantly lose and not win anything and leave without anything.”
This wasn’t said to intimidate or threaten them. Han Woo Jin knew the ruthlessness of the sports world more than anyone else and reached his out without hesitation.
At the bottom of page three was Han Woo Jin’s signature. The president looked into his eyes as he confidently signed the contract. Then Choi Yeon Hyuk also reached out with his hand and signed it with his stylish signature.
It was at that moment the two players were now carrying the dreams of the president and Coach Jeon.
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