God of Tennis - Chapter 5.3
“6-4! Set, Choi Yeon Hyuk!”
You could hear Coach Jeon’s voice echo as the entire indoor court was silent. Previously, all the players were chatting and discussing about who they thought would win. However, nobody could speak now.
On the court, Han Woo Jin was drenched in sweat with both hands on his bent knees. In contrast, Choi Yeon Hyuk looked calm and was breathing comfortably.
Up to the second, no, up to the third game, no one knew who would win. However, since the start of the fourth game, the balance was broken and things had changed. Yet the fact that he was able to win four games was all thanks to Sparrow.
Since he won four games, his serve level went up to 11. But he only had enough SP left for two more Sparrows.
If he served normally without using Sparrow, he would lose to the return ace. Finally, Han Woo Jin knew that there was a huge mountain in front of him. He couldn’t help it as he had to keep moving forward.
The person who was serving usually won the game and the wins went back and forth. However, Choi Yeon Hyuk interrupted the pattern when he figured out the trick behind Sparrow’s curve. Whenever Han Woo Jin used Sparrow, there wasn’t a return ace, but Choi Yeon Hyuk was able to return his Sparrow soon enough and their rallies grew longer and longer as Han Woo Jin became more exhausted.
His shoulders were moving up and down from his rough breathing. Bullets of sweat were dropping off his bright red face. His hand that was holding the racket was at its limit as it was trembling. Since he had been running around so much, his leg muscles were also starting to cramp up.
Could you say that this is the look of a pro after just one set?
However, the people watching in the stands couldn’t laugh at all.
If they were in his shoes, could they do any better? Thinking about that question, nobody thought they could.
30 minutes had passed since the game had started.
Choi Yeon Hyuk was finally able to receive Sparrow, and Han Woo Jin couldn’t do anything about it. He had nothing left to use. It was obvious who would win the next set and win the match.
The world of sports was cold. The injured player’s weakness was always targeted. Han Woo Jin, who was exhausted, looked like a predator that had lost its fangs. Coach Jeon felt bad for Han Woo Jin as he looked at him and he had a feeling that Han Woo Jin wouldn’t give up. So he hurriedly started the second set.
“Second set start! Han Woo Jin start serve!”
With his trembling hand, he received the ball. He could barely toss the ball up.
Yet he was still able to somehow perform his serve and got a return ace.
He didn’t even think about giving up.
He continued to lose points.
The ball went and forth over the net. It hit the court and then finally bounced outside. Han Woo Jin tried his best to return the ball as he swung his racket, but the racket flew out of his hands and hit the ground.
He looked extremely pathetic, but his figure was very admirable to look at.
Some people watching in the stands couldn’t help but clench their fists as they watched this difficult match; they felt that it was tense.
‘Isn’t this just a practice game? You’ve done more than enough.’
Not only did the viewers think of this, but it also went through Han Woo Jin’s mind as well. This wasn’t a big match; it was only a practice game for the company. Was there a reason for one to be playing oneself to death?
The temptation coming from his head was starting to influence his playing and his body became more lethargic. Ever since he traveled back into the past, he had never lost a game so his body and mind wanted to give up on this match thinking that he had won enough already. Han Woo Jin picked up his racket from the ground, but he had no more strength.
It was Choi Yeon Hyuk’s turn to serve.
‘I have to get it…’
His body ran to the ball unconsciously. His breath came up to his throat and his uniform was stuck to his body like a wet towel. But Han Woo Jin’s body moved to receive the ball. The ball hit the court, bounced, and hit the center of his racket.
However, Han Woo Jin’s racket was the one that flew away, not the ball. Since he didn’t have any strength left in his hand, he let go of his racket and the ball didn’t go over the net. It rolled on the ground.
“Game, Choi Yeon Hyuk! 0-2! Han Woo Jin serve!”
‘Should I give up?’
Han Woo Jin was seriously thinking about giving up. There was no need to try this hard in a practice match. He also knew that he could not win this match. The fact that he was still standing on this court was out of sheer will.
His eyes were trembling, his vision was blurry, and his burning skin covered with sweat.
However, above all that, there was something else that was pressing down on his shoulders.
HP 640/1920 SP 35/410
It was his status window that was showing the amount of stamina he had left.
HP 1310/2400 SP 640/640
Furthermore, compared to himself, he could see Choi Yeon Hyuk’s status, which was the largest stress inducer for Han Woo Jin.
‘Let’s give up.’
He felt that the status window was whispering to him,
. It was telling him that his effort and time was lacking by a huge margin.
‘I know that much.’
There was no way for a normal person to beat a genius. Who knew better than him who wasted ten years of his life to figure out this cold hard truth?
Even though he now had special powers, the world of geniuses was incomparably high. Choi Yeon Hyuk was the best of the best who had no opponents anywhere in Korea.
-Okay, let’s give up. It’s time to take a step back today. I can gain more experience and raise my levels while in tournaments. Even if I lose now, can’t I win later? That’s what this system promised.
This was just a sweet temptation.
The last shred of self-esteem that he had was destroyed during those ten years. However, this new system brought back hope.
-It’s ridiculous that I serve with all my strength but it returns with a return ace.
-It’s ridiculous that I used all my strength in my smash but it was returned with a volley.
-I lobbed it all the way back to the baseline and even used a perfect drop shot, but Choi Yeon Hyuk only took three steps to return it.
-He even easily returned the special skill called Sparrow.
He completely destroyed the system that Han Woo Jin had faith in and showed that it was nothing.
… Anyway, he never liked giving up.
He lived the past ten years crawling on the dirt ground.
He put everything on the line on tennis even though his family and friends told him not to.
He played over 1,000 matches and he never gave up a single match.
‘Shut up for a moment.’
He forcefully clenched his trembling hand. As he tightly gripped his racket, the grip on it twisted.
This was the first time since he returned to the past that he turned off the status window.
His head was suddenly clear as the numbers and letters disappeared. He released a hot breath of air as he let go of the breath that was stuck in his throat. His legs that were about to collapse suddenly regained strength. Due to the disappearance of the status window that was showing him the harsh reality of things, the heavy boulder that was on his psychological shoulders disappeared. Was this what was called a runner’s high? That’s what Han Woo Jin felt as he felt a strange energy coursing through his body.
As he let out rough breaths, he straightened his back and looked directly straight in front of him. You could see the side of his mouth rise up a little on his red face.
‘I was stupid thinking I could win in a fair match. Regardless of the system, I should have played with my own style.’
He gripped his racket, held it diagonally, and grabbed the ball. It was his turn to serve.
‘I can’t win a fair match.’
If Han Woo Jin was an infantryman, then Choi Yeon Hyuk would be a tank. Of course, if those two fought, the tank would crush the infantryman.
‘I’ll show you a cool trick.’
Han Woo Jin had a mischievous look on his face.
‘Is this as far as he can go?’
The excited Choi Yeon Hyuk couldn’t help but let out a sigh. It had been a long time since he went all out so he was breathing heavily. This meant that Choi Yeon Hyuk’s opponent had very good skills.
Han Woo Jin.
Choi Yeon Hyuk was interested in him ever since he saw the strange serve during the exam. Even Choi Yeon Hyuk didn’t think that he could copy that serve or return it.
How long had it been since he was this excited because he saw a player who could serve like that?
Ever since he was young, Choi Yeon Hyuk was capable of doing anything. When he was in middle school, he beat the high school seniors so much that it wasn’t a big deal for him. After he became a high schooler, he registered himself up at a pro tennis court and beat everyone there.
100 games and 100 victories.
To this young genius, having 100 victories definitely made him arrogant.
‘Korea doesn’t have any decent tennis players.’
It didn’t take that long for him to realize that. Nobody could block his talent and skills, and therefore his arrogance kept rising.
Choi Yeon Hyuk, who had a lot of experience from the country junior tournaments, heard some good news one day.
The NK company president was preparing some sort of great sponsor project for tennis.
The news from one of the NK company’s players was enough to convince him to go to NK company. The amount of money to support a tennis player’s career was too much for him and his family. But if NK company became his sponsor, it would only be the price of a pack of gum for them.
Choi Yeon Hyuk wanted to show them his worth. And at that exam, he met a player whom he was interested in for the first time.
It was Han Woo Jin.
‘His height is about 177 to 178 cm. He’s a little skinny and his arms and legs aren’t that long… but his skills aren’t bad.’
Compared to him, Han Woo Jin had a worse physique, but his skill was good enough.
It might have been at that time. He could finally call someone his [Rival].
A few days later, he participated in the test league after he entered the company. He was lucky too.
Han Woo Jin easily got into the finals with him.
That’s why he thought this was his chance to judge his skills to see if Han Woo Jin was good enough to become his rival.
‘… Was I excited for nothing?’
He was close to winning this match, so that was good. But he also felt disappointed. He had run ahead too quickly expecting people to follow him, but when he turned around, nobody was there.
Choi Yeon Hyuk gripped his racket with a disappointed face. If his opponent won’t give up, he needed to crush his opponent.
Han Woo Jin’s stamina was almost spent. He easily returned his powerless serve.
‘Does he have the mentality to never give up? But his mentality to never give up means nothing because he can’t win.’
While Choi Yeon Hyuk was thinking about ending the game, he suddenly saw something.
Their eyes met.
‘… what’s that?’
Choi Yeon Hyuk stepped back unconsciously. Just a little bit earlier his opponent’s eyes were muddle-headed, but now they were strangely bright.
What was the thing that was praiseworthy? That Han Woo Jin made him step back with his spirit or that Choi Yeon Hyuk stepped back on instinct?
Han Woo Jin threw up the ball.
The way the racket swung was a little different from before. It meant that his body stamina had been exhausted.
Choi Yeon Hyuk ran up and was filled with nervousness.
That was how the third game of the second set began.