God of Tennis - Chapter 4.2
As soon as the whistle was blown, green balls were immediately sent over the nets. You could only hear the sound of rackets hitting the balls on the court. Since they all were professional players, they all hit with strength and precision.
‘Luck is also an important factor in games.’
Aside from talent, there was something else that made it difficult to win various sports tournaments, including tennis. Luck was something that could play a role in helping the player win. For example, a player could go against the world champion because of bad luck and lose. Or he could go against someone with the same skill level and win with much difficulty, but he would be exhausted.
Some people already lost versus their opponents that outclassed them and had to switch sides. There were some games that would be done in 30 minutes.
“I have a better rank than what I had in my previous life already. Am I supposed to laugh?”
He mumbled to himself in his seat. There was one match that he wanted to watch.
Han Woo Jin walked outside the courts over to the clay courts to not disturb the other games. He found where Choi Yeon Hyuk was playing his match.
Because of his tall height, he could easily use a powerful overhead stroke to hit the ball with a smash to score a point.
‘Choi Yeon Hyuk.’
He was the one that helped him with Im Sang Hoon, the bald guy.
The future prince of tennis.
The tennis player who received the same contract as him.
Han Woo Jin frequently had complicated thoughts in his mind but when it came to Choi Yeon Hyuk, things were simple.
“…He’s really good.”
You could hear the balls hit the ground loudly across all the courts, but Choi Yeon Hyuk’s hits were the loudest. Even his volley shots bounced really high in the clay court. Nobody could receive them.
His first game quickly ended with a volley shot. When Choi Yeon Hyuk was about to serve after switching sides, he noticed Han Woo Jin.
“Hey, didn’t you just get a freebie?”
“You’re the one that made me get a free ticket.”
“Uh? I guess you’re right.”
As a fully grown man, Han Woo Jin was shy about thanking Choi Yeon Hyuk for his help and Choi Yeon Hyuk was shy about receiving gratitude. The two joked with each other and laughed. Han Woo Jin hadn’t had a friend in a long time, so he felt like this was what having a ‘friend’ was like and that made him feel a little excited.
At the baseline at the end of the court, he went to Han Woo Jin and spoke to him amiably.
“Don’t worry about what happened earlier. I just didn’t like what I saw. Next time, you can stand up for yourself.”
“… Should I? Anyway, thanks.”
He shyly brushed off the thanks and scratched the back of his head. He turned his attention back to his match because his opponent was ready to serve. However, Choi Yeon Hyuk had the absolute advantage.
Choi Yeon Hyuk quickly returned the ball and his opponent hit the ball too high which made it easy for him to smash the ball. He gained a point. 0:15.
This time, Choi Yeon Hyuk predicted what his opponent was going to do. His opponent’s serve wasn’t that fast so he was able to easily use a half-volley to score another point. 0:30.
Whether he did it on purpose or accident, he returned the ball to the line on the left side of the court. Han Woo Jin thought that he would lose this point, but to his shock, Choi Yeon Hyuk did something that surprised him.
His left knee was on the ground and right knee was bent at a 90-degree angle. He bent his body and softly hit the ball with his racket by slicing upwards. His movement was very similar to a ping-pong player’s cut and the ball had an extreme curve in the air. Then it hit the center mark on the other side of the court.
The receive was picture-perfect.
Because of his skillful and artistic return ace, even his opponent couldn’t help but admire the shot. His opponent realized the humongous gap between them and his shoulders dropped. That was how perfect that shot was.
The opponent could no longer do anything. His serves no longer had any power and Choi Yeon Hyuk easily returned them with his strong forehand strokes. So Choi Yeon Hyuk easily won the second set and there was nothing left to watch. Therefore, he won the match 6-0, and 6-0 again. In the beginning, Han Woo Jin was sure that Choi Yeon Hyuk’s opponent had the tenacity to at least wear down his stamina to make his later games harder, but he gave up after that one shot. Anyway, a monster like Choi Yeon Hyuk was able to move on to the next round without using much energy.
Han Woo Jin saw the board that showed which players moved on to the next round of the tournament. His eyes were focused on where he and Choi Yeon Hyuk advanced up the ladder. Luckily, they were on opposite sides. If Han Woo Jin wanted to play against him, they needed to get to the finals.
‘Then my first goal will be to reach the finals.’ Almost everyone had finished their first set and was on their second set. In about 30 minutes, everyone would be done and he needed to play his match for the top 16 and onwards.
Han Woo Jin turned away from Choi Yeon Hyuk and went back to the waiting area. It was time to concentrate on himself and not the others.
“Mr. Han Woo Jin?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
His opponent that won his match called his name. Han Woo Jin nodded his head and picked up the racket on the ground. He saw his opponent’s stats.
[Na Shin Wook]
Strength 45 / Stamina 55 / Agility 42
HP 1880/2200 SP 310/310
Drop shot: 4/20
Special Skills: None
‘His forehand and backhand levels are evenly balanced. But his smash is really bad. I guess he’s not good at returning overhead shots?’
Han Woo Jin’s special power did not only help improve his talent and skills with hard work – it also provided him with his opponent’s information. He could see his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
Normally, you had to find your opponent’s weakness after rallying back and forth with him ten or a hundred times. Yet with his special ability, he could instantly find their weaknesses. Therefore, he was able to come up with a plan to beat him.
‘I have to give him serves with high bounces, and when I return shots I have to send it back up high.’
Attacking one’s weakness was very common in sports. In the Ultimate Fighting Championships, George Aldo hit his opponent’s shoulder which was previously injured. If he didn’t attack the weakness even if he didn’t know about it beforehand, it would be the same as ignoring his opponent.
“Are you ready to play?”
“Yes, I’m good to go.”
A man with polite words. Na Shin Wook was sweating a little bit, but he didn’t look tired. His stamina was 55. His stamina was 10 points higher than Han Woo Jin’s.
Some people finished their matches and there were five empty courts. Three of them were clay courts, one was grass, and the last one was asphalt.
The asphalt court was best for high bounce shots. Grass was an irregular environment so no one liked to play on it.
“I want to play on the asphalt court, is that okay?”
“Mmm… sure, that’s fine.”
He looked like he was worried about Han Woo Jin finding out about his weakness so he was hesitant, but he still agreed. If he knew that Han Woo Jin already knew about his weakness, he definitely would have refused. You could say that this was also a strategy. A strategy that only Han Woo Jin could use.
Han Woo Jin arrived at the asphalt court and put his hand over the net.
“Do you want to decide with rock paper scissors?”
They didn’t need to talk about what they were deciding on.
Han Woo Jin chose rock and his opponent chose paper.
Na Shin Wook decided to serve first because he won, but his face didn’t show that he was happy about it. He looked as if he didn’t like to serve.
Before Han Woo Jin could check why he didn’t want to serve, his opponent served without warning.
Na Shin Wook’s serve hit the other side of the court. Han Woo Jin laughed internally when he saw that the ball had no power behind it. Now he knew why his opponent didn’t want to serve.
‘This man has no power with his overhead shots. A serve is done with an overhead swing. No wonder he hates doing it.’
These things could happen. There were people who didn’t understand the way their bodies moved while swinging overhead.
There were a few players like that among the pros, but his opponent knew he wasn’t good at overhead swings and that it wasn’t a smart move to serve overhead.
He clearly saw where the ball was going to land. Han Woo Jin’s body quickly twisted and moved. It was a low bounce that only came up to his waist. He couldn’t smash it. Using all his strength, he swung at the ball with a forehand stroke. The direction of his stroke was upwards which made the ball fly high into the sky.
Na Shin Wook saw the ball go high up and he couldn’t help but yell in surprise, hesitating while moving backwards. He tried his best to move to where the ball was going to land and even jumped to hit the ball.
The ball hit the frame of his racket so the ball didn’t make it over the net. Na Shin Wook acknowledged the score with a darkened face. With this one rally, Na Shin Wook knew that Han Woo Jin had found out about his weakness.
‘How? Did he see my previous match?’
He had no way of knowing that Han Woo Jin could see his opponent’s stats just by grabbing his racket. Han Woo Jin didn’t care about Na Shin Wook’s curious eyes and was ready to keep playing.
Na Shin Wook continuously lost with his weak serves, and Han Woo Jin easily returned the balls. It was an easy win.
He lost one game and it was now Han Woo Jin’s turn to serve. There was no way for Na Shin Wook to win points because Han Woo Jin kept on using lobs and volleys to force him to hit the ball overhead.
However, Na Shin Wook gritted his teeth and kept on playing. Han Woo Jin also did his best and hit the ball back and forth. This was how a pro should play. There was no such thing as consideration for your opponent. Real consideration for your opponent is using all of your strength to beat your opponent.
The total time for the match was 37 minutes and 12 seconds.
Han Woo Jin’s first match ended with 6-1 and 6-2. It was a pretty good score for a finish.