Novel Name : God of Tennis

God of Tennis - Chapter 4.1

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Chapter 4.1 Test League
TL: Pineapple
Editor: Isalee
Seoul, NK company tennis club.
Coach Jeon, who was wearing sunglasses and tight-looking pants, stood up in front of Han Woo Jin who only had brought a carrier with his clothes and simple daily necessities.
“Are you ready?”
Han Woo Jin nodded without hesitation. His life was wholly dedicated to tennis. He would never give up on tennis unless tennis gave up on him. He even dreamed of swinging his racket. He served and returned tennis balls countless number of times.
Han Woo Jin’s eyes didn’t waver as he looked at Coach Jeon as he patted his shoulder. Old people couldn’t help but admire young people’s vigor and fighting spirits.
“Okay, let’s first unpack your things. This map will tell you where everything is so don’t lose it.”
“Lunch is at noon. Come to the outdoor court at 2 PM. We will have a test league.”
Test league.
Han Woo Jin’s eyes had a look of reminiscence in them. This test determined the unofficial rankings of the players in the company. It was a like a game between 32 players where first and second place received small monetary prizes.
In the past, Han Woo Jin was always last place. Unfortunately for him, he went against a really strong opponent during his first test league and had his first biggest loss at 6-1 and 6-0.
After that, his career went downhill.
Soon after, everybody treated him as if he was invisible. Some people even told him to pick up the balls. Some people threatened him and told him to purposely lose games and give up. He really tried to pay them back with his own abilities but his talent was not enough and he never got better.
Those people all left the company after they placed first or second in the test league. But Han Woo Jin stayed.
Coach Jeon left right away after he checked his room number. He looked at Coach Jeon’s back and thought to himself.
‘In sports, only the most talented has the right to speak. Those guys didn’t do anything. It was my fault for being so weak.’
He didn’t need the map that Coach Jeon gave him. He just glanced at his room number and put it in his bag. How many people knew this facility better than him? Even Coach Jeon didn’t know as much as he did.
Confidently walking through the halls, Han Woo Jin thought to himself again.
He could never forget the humiliation he went through during those ten years even though he had come back. He was upset at himself for being so weak. The bitterness that he harbored thinking that he could get better through effort…
‘Okay, in this world, the weak are wrong and the strong are right.’
Room 301. Having arrived at his room, he opened the door with his card key. He could see that the inside of the dorm was very clean and organized. He took out his clothes and put them all in his closet, and then something caught his eye.
A tennis racket.
ProConnect company’s new racket was on his desk. It was for all-rounded players and it was called the ‘Even Balance’ racket.
Han Woo Jin stretched his hands and grabbed the grip.
Han Woo Jin looked at his status window.
‘This time, I will be the one in the right.’
2 PM. Thirty-two players gathered at NK company’s outside tennis courts. According to Coach Jeon, all of the players that represented NK company were here. The old and new players of the company mingled together. Only Han Woo Jin was by himself, talking to no one with his eyes closed among the crowd of players.
‘Either way, there is no one good enough for me to take notice of.’
He just grabbed his racket and saw all the players’ status windows. Except for Choi Yeon Hyuk, the rest of the players’ stats were messed up.
However, there were only a few who had decent stats and were stronger than him. However, several had [Hungover] statuses in their status windows, which he thought was ridiculous.
How could they take tennis so lightly?
Pros getting drunk the night before an important test?
‘No way.’
Han Woo Jin finally realized the anger that the NK president had. Lazy players and no motivation. It was because of these people’s attitudes that this country’s tennis was doomed. He sighed as he looked at those players.
Someone must have seen Han Woo Jin sigh and that person strongly gripped his shoulder.
Han Woo Jin rudely responded to the person because of his rude way of grabbing him. Han Woo Jin looked back indifferently. The person who grabbed his shoulder was a large bald man who was glaring at him. He was trying to intimidate him and he a dragon tattoo on his forearm.
“What? What did you say, punk? How dare a newbie like you sigh?!”
Korea had this kind of useless culture, especially in sports. The people who didn’t have experience, talent, or good personalities tried to control the rookies with their seniority. Furthermore, in sports, discrimination was a lot worse for those who didn’t attend the same college. [1]
Han Woo Jin thought that he didn’t need to respond to him and turned away. If he used violence anyway, he could get kicked out. This outside tennis court had eight cameras. They recorded the players’ practices and they also had to make sure that there was evidence for any sort of violence.
“Hey! You’re not looking at me? Hey! You bitch!”
Han Woo Jin just ignored the bald man who cursed at him. The bald man’s face turned red and he kept on using profanities. But Han Woo Jin’s face never changed his indifferent expression as if he couldn’t hear it. Anyway, this kind of childish matter was nothing.
A quick moment later, they could hear Coach Jeon making his arrival and the outside court suddenly became quiet. The bald man hit Han Woo Jin’s back and went to his seat. Coach Jeon had absolute coaching power against the players so everyone was afraid of him.
Coach Jeon arrived in front of the players. He tilted his head and asked, “It was a bit loud while I was walking over. What happened?”
No one answered. Han Woo Jin knew this would happen. Who would stand up for a newbie on their first day against the baldie who had been in the company before him? Han Woo Jin wasn’t offended by this. He was already no longer impacted by these trivial things.
However, it was a bit different this time.
“Coach Jeon.”
“Yes, Choi Yeon Hyuk. Speak.”
Choi Yeon Hyuk raised his hand and was given the permission to speak. He put down his hand as he spoke and pointed to the bald man who had been cursing.
“That guy began yelling and cursing at Woo Jin for no reason. I think he needs to get punished by the player’s policy.”
Both the bald man that had been called out and Han Woo Jin did not expect any help; they were very surprised. The first one who came to his senses was the bald man. Although he was surprised, he yelled at Choi Yeon Hyuk.
“What are you talking about? You punks!…”
“Hey, Im Sang Hoon!”
“Shut your mouth. If what Yeon Hyuk said is true, you better be prepared to die today.”
“C-coach, it’s not true! The new guys are lying to you!”
Im Sang Hoon’s face was very pitiful and it looked as if he was wronged. Even Han Woo Jin who was the one that had been attacked in front of everyone thought that the bald man was actually telling the truth. Choi Yeon Hyuk looked as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Coach Jeon would never be fooled by such acting. Coach Jeon narrowed his eyes and shouted, “Im Sang Hoon! I told you to shut your mouth. Today, you don’t have to take part in this test league. Go back to your room and cool your head!”
“…Yes, sir.”
Im Sang Hoon realized that his protest was useless in front of Coach Jeon’s yelling so he meekly lowered his head. However, if you looked closely at his eyes, you could see that he was full of fury. Im Sang Hoon stared at Choi Yeon Hyuk and Han Woo Jin and left.
The players were surprised by the sudden event. Coach Jeon clapped and got their attention.
“Ignore this matter and I’ll explain the test league. I don’t have time to answer questions so listen carefully and move. Alright?”
“Yes sir!”
The players answered loudly which echoed throughout the air outside. This showed how much influence Coach Jeon had over the players. His facial expression showed that this was what he expected.
“The test league has 32 players. Because we don’t have time, there will be no deuces, tiebreakers, or advantage points. Serves and court changes will still follow the normal game rules. As soon as you finish your match, go to the waiting area. If both you and your next opponent are finished, have a 15 minute break and then move on to your next match. Do you understand?!”
“Yes sir!”
“Ah, also.”
Coach Jeon forgot one thing and put up one finger as he continued to speak. Since he took out Im Sang Hoon, there were only 31 players.
“Since one player is out, one person gets a bye for the first game. Woo Jin who got cursed at on his first day will get the free pass. Anyone disagree?”
The players who saw Im Sang Hoon get kicked out stayed quiet. Han Woo Jin was a little bit disappointed but he didn’t want to miss this chance and decided to save his energy.
“Then let’s put Woo Jin in the first place and make it so that he moves onto the next round. The rest of you come up and grab lots.”
Coach Jeon brought a paper box out and put it on the ground. The players grabbed their lots from the box. They quickly moved and got their numbers. They then wrote their names on the whiteboard in the tournament style bracket.
“Good. The numbers are right. Because there are 30 people playing right now, if we use all of the courts, we can do all games at the same time.”
According to Coach Jeon, NK company had various outdoor tennis courts that had different kinds of environments such as clay, asphalt, and grass. There were five of each type, so there was a total of fifteen outdoor courts.
“Starting from the right, get ready. I’ll give you ten minutes to warm up. After ten minutes, you need to start as soon as I blow the whistle.”
Seeing the players getting ready at their respective courts, Han Woo Jin just sat down at the waiting area by himself. The 30 players filled up the 15 courts and it was an impressive sight to see.
Exactly 10 minutes later, Coach Jeon blew the whistle.
Translator’s Notes:
[1] In terms of the job market in Korea, recruiters tend to choose new employees by seeing if the candidate went to the same college as them.
Ex: The employer went to Seoul University and the new employee candidate also went to Seoul University, but the others didn’t. The employer will hire that person just because he/she went to the same university. And in companies, there are cliques of people who only hang out with people that went to the same university.
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