God of Tennis - Chapter 8.1
Chapter 8.1: Looking For Competition
The rain was drizzling. If you looked up at the sky, the clouds were so thick that sunlight couldn’t pass through. It was still midday, but the world was completely gray.
‘This weather isn’t strange.’
That’s what Han Woo Jin thought.
As soon as he got off the plane, he felt the air was very humid. Within minutes, his shirt was sticky with sweat. It made him feel uncomfortable.
Han Woo Jin dragged his carrier bag in front of Shin Sae Yeon who was wearing a suit. Although the weather was humid, she didn’t even break a sweat.
Han Woo Jin couldn’t help but ask, “Ms. Sae Yeon, aren’t you hot?”
He already had sweat forming on his forehead but Shin Sae Yeon didn’t even fan her face with her hand. She turned her head and answered, “It’s a little hot. It already feels like summer here in Jeju island.”
The lowest temperature was 23 and the highest temperature was 27 degrees Celsius.
Even if it rained, the temperature wouldn’t go any lower. Just hearing the rain outside the window made him feel hot. Only Shin Sae Yeon’s soft voice was same as usual.
Shin Sae Yeon took out her cell phone from her suit and tapped it several times. She saw something and she passed it Han Woo Jin without a word. Then she walked out of the airport.
“Ms. Sae Yeon?”
“There is a car in the parking lot. Let’s go there.”
Shin Sae Yeon was very tall, and they were similar in height so it wasn’t difficult for Han Woo JIn to catch up to her. The two briskly walked to the parking lot.
Waiting for them in the parking lot was a Volvo S40 model — a good, medium-sized foreign car.
‘This is pretty good.’
Every male had some interest in cars. Han Woo Jin also thought that Coach Jeon’s car, the Benz, was very good. He was also interested in Volvos which had their own special characteristic of being sturdy.
Shin Sae Yeon didn’t seem to care about the car and got the key from the person waiting for them. Then she opened the door to the driver’s seat.
Han Woo Jin spoke in surprise as he didn’t expect for her to be the one driving.
“Are you going to drive?”
“Yes, I have a license.”
She looked at him as if she was asking if there was a problem. Han Woo Jin felt that what he was going to say was useless so he held it and sat in the back.
As soon as he sat down, she put the key in and abruptly turned the handle.
Han Woo Jin was pleasantly surprised by her driving skills as she immediately exited from the parking spot. Shin Sae Yeon didn’t care about his feelings and immediately pressed down on the accelerator. The engine blared loudly and quickly exited the lot.
She drove like a professional male driver and Han Woo Jin realized that he shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
2 PM, at a hotel near the Seogwipo tennis tournament. The two unpacked their bags and were resting.
After an hour, they ate lunch and Han Woo Jin’s body was in peak condition. Someone knocked on the door.
“Mr. Woo Jin, it’s me.”
“Oh, wait a second.”
Han Woo Jin got up from his bed right away. He quickly opened the door and caught the scent of Shin Sae Yeon’s perfume which smelled like peppermint. He stepped back because he wasn’t used to her perfume. She misunderstood his gesture and took that as a signal to enter.
She went in with her bag and put it on the bed. Before he could say anything about her nonchalant attitude, she took out a piece of paper from her bag.
“This is the schedule for you before your tournament games. You should read it.”
“…It’s so packed.”
It was less than when he was in training, but it was not that different from his usual schedule. Han Woo Jin scanned the paper and stopped at the part about the afternoon practice game.
“Free training at the Seogwipo tennis courts?”
“Let’s talk about that.”
Shin Sae Yeon’s voice was always calm. People that didn’t know her would think she that was cold, but people who listened to her voice would stay calm. Han Woo Jin looked at her eyes and concentrated on her words.
“The Andong Futures finals start on July 20th. The players arrive early and try to adapt to the environment. Right now, a lot of players have booked rooms near this area. It’s good to scout out your opponents before your matches.”
“So training in that area is good for scouting?”
Shin Sae Yeon nodded her head after hearing him state the main point. She didn’t need to explain the rest and took out more papers from her bag. The stack of papers had pictures on them.
“Here are the 22 players that will be competing in the tournament. Excluding you, are 21 players not including those who took part in the preliminaries.”
The tournament was mainly filled with those who had seeds and not as much from those who passed the preliminaries. In this Andong Futures tournament, only 10 out of the 32 people were from the preliminaries.
That meant that they could easily search up the profiles of those seeded players before the tournament. The papers in her hands contained the information of 21 players.
Han Woo Jin went through the papers one by one and suddenly stopped at one of the player’s profiles. There was a name that he couldn’t ignore.
‘Okuta Ryusuke… he entered this tournament?’
It was incredibly rare for an Asian to become a world ranked player in the tennis world. Han Woo Jin remembered that this man was in the top 30 in his previous life, which was not comparable to Choi Yeon Hyuk’s fame and rank.
In his previous life, Choi Yeon Hyuk easily beat him in the Wimbledon during the top eight, but Okuta wasn’t weak. At that time, Choi Yeon Hyuk was just too strong. However, Choi Yeon Hyuk was defeated by Federer in the finals.
In the pro world, whether you were good or bad depended on your opponent. The fact that Han Woo Jin still remembered Okuta meant that Han Woo Jin definitely had to scout him out during training.
Han Woo Jin’s body suddenly turned stiff and Shin Sae Yeon continued to speak.
“His junior experience is very good and this is his third tournament since he became a pro. … He doesn’t seem to have any specialties… Are you worried about him?”
“…No, I just have a bad feeling.”
If he said that Okuta Ryusuke was one of the future top 30 ranked players, then she would think that he was crazy. That’s why Han Woo Jin just said that he had a bad feeling.
“Feeling… anyway, I will check him out for you.”
However, Shin Sae Yeon didn’t think lightly about what he said and was serious about it. She took out her notebook and wrote down Okuta’s name.
‘Anyway, I can’t rashly say things in front of her. This woman is too perfect.’
Han Woo Jin couldn’t understand the reason for her excellence even though she was young. She was perfect and diligent. If she just had a little bit of talent, she would have many accomplishments.
Han Woo Jin was impressed by her impeccable business attitude and he developed a sense of alarm from her at the same time. If a person like her has even had a small clue about something, she would easily get to the end of it.
Of course, she would never reach the conclusion that he had time traveled because of common sense, but he could tell that she was incredibly intelligent.
“There’s not that many details. Do you not have any recordings of them playing?”
“Yes. None of the players in this tournament are ranked. We don’t have too much information about them because they don’t have much popularity and fame from the people.”
If they were world ranked players, video clips of their plays would be on the internet. Then they would be able to watch them play and devise a plan on how to handle them.
Hence, there wasn’t anyone that would analyze a playstyle for someone who wasn’t famous. In regards to Futures tournaments in Korea, it was difficult to find talented tennis players who received attention from the public.
Then the only thing he could do was run into them.
“There’s an indoor court in Seogwipo right?”
“Yes, there are three hard courts. Do you plan on going right now?”
Shin Sae Yeon got up from the bed and tilted her head. She gave him a look that seemed like she was asking if he really wanted to go out in this rain. Han Woo Jin nodded.
“Let’s go right now. Coach Jeon probably didn’t say anything about resting when we got here.”
“Hoo, yeah, you’re right.”
The two people laughed at the thought of Coach Jeon. Seeing her laugh for the first time, Han Woo Jin felt like he got a little bit closer to her. Until now, she interacted with him as if she was his agent and he was her player. That wasn’t bad, but they were humans so it would be best if they got closer to one another.
“I’ll get up first. I’ll meet you in the lobby in 15 minutes.”
As soon as they made the decision, Shin Sae Yeon left the room and Han Woo Jin immediately changed into his sports gear.
He saw his racket in his backpack. He ignored the feeling of wanting to pick up his racket and closed his backpack.
It’s time to go.