God of Tennis - Chapter 10.1
Chapter 10.1: The Top 16
Kim Jin Hyun was about to say something, but the announcer’s voice was quicker. It was a loud voice which thundered through the microphone.
[Now we will begin the first round of the top 16 matches. We have NK company’s Han Woo Jin and Osung Electricity Company’s Kim Jin Hyun! Everyone, please welcome these two players with a round of applause!]
Han Woo Jin didn’t want to talk to him anymore. He left Kim Jin Hyun behind and walked over to the court first. He knew what he was going to say to him. He was probably going to say something along the lines of him wanting his children to have good memories and blah blah blah in order to get him to sympathize with him.
Ah, of course, he didn’t think everything that he said was a lie. It was possible that his child was actually sick, and it was possible that this was his last tournament.
‘You shouldn’t bring outside problems onto the court.’
That was what Han Woo Jin thought.
That was how he had lived so far. That was also why he acted icily to others when they were like that because he did that to himself too.
Could he win just because his child is sick?
Could he win because this might be his last tournament?
Victory didn’t come to beggars.
Winning came from effort, anger, frustration, grit, nervousness, and joy. Han Woo Jin had no intention of thinking poorly about player Kim Jin Hyun’s strategy, but he also had no intention of respecting him.
Han Woo Jin looked back at Kim Jin Hyun who followed him and saw his status.
[Kim Jin Hyun]
Strength 48 / Stamina 52 / Agility 45
HP 1920/2080 SP 360/360
Drop Shot: 5/20
Special Skill: None
There wasn’t much of a difference between him and Lee Yong Woon whom he played against in the first round. That meant that he could easily win against him without showing his true skills.
Han Woo Jin gazed at Kim Jin Hyun like a machine and examined him. Kim Jin Hyun noticed his stare — he and felt scared and uncomfortable.
‘Huh… this guy isn’t easy.’
He was still in his early thirties but Han Woo Jin’s look was not something that belonged to someone in their twenties. He felt the way that he was looking at him was as if he were sharpening a knife.
Kim Jin Hyun totally gave up on the notion of trying to make him sympathize with him. That kind of psychological warfare wouldn’t work on him. A person with those kinds of eyes wasn’t easy to deal with.
The two players went to their spots on the court and the referee began speaking.
[It’s time to decide who will serve first. Both players, please come forward.]
Their eyes met. Both of them faced each other as if their opponent wasn’t a threat. They weren’t intimidated by each other and only had thoughts of winning. The two players arrived at the net and the referee spoke again.
“Please choose heads or tails.”
“Can I choose?”
They no longer thought about psychological warfare. As soon as Han Woo Jin agreed, Kim Jin Hyun chose tails without hesitation. Han Woo Jin automatically got heads and they both took one step back because they didn’t want to get hit by the coin.
The referee flipped his thumb up and tossed the coin.
The coin rotated in the air and quickly dropped back down toward the ground. The referee put out his hand and caught the coin. It was tails.
“I’ll serve first.”
With a short exchange, they both returned to the service line. Han Woo Jin stood in position behind the service line and Kim Jin Hyun grabbed the balls. He slowly walked toward the baseline.
[Player Kim Jin Hyun will be serving first! As soon as you guys are ready, you can start!]
“Player ready! Kim Jin Hyun to serve!”
Han Woo Jin lowered his back and Kim Jin Hyun straightened his body. Their positions represented those of a server and a receiver.
Kim Jin Hyun tossed the ball up as soon as the referee signaled for the beginning of the match. It couldn’t be considered a foul but it was a good skill to be able to serve as soon as the referee signaled the start.
It was a loud noise. A perfectly hit ball would emit a clean sound. The ball hit the racket’s sweet spot and went over towards Han Woo Jin’s side of the court. It was a straight and precise serve.
Yet it wasn’t enough for Han Woo Jin.
‘He’s acting like how I used to act.’
Han Woo Jin smiled bitterly. His playstyle was exactly the same as his except for the part where he tried to get him to sympathize with him. He tried to bluff and trick him. It wasn’t a type of skill that he used now in the present because his skills had advanced so much that he no longer needed it.
It had been a while since he had seen these types of moves so his body reacted in excitement. He swung his racket like he was about to hit the ball with a huge motion, but it suddenly stopped.
It was a perfect drop shot.
Nobody could react to an unexpected drop shot because of the huge swing they see from their opponents. It might’ve been different if it was a serve volley. Since he was standing at the baseline, Kim Jin Hyun couldn’t receive the ball.
He ran with all his might but the ball had already bounced twice in front of him.
Losing the first point in vain, Kim Jin Hyun clicked his tongue. Han Woo Jin’s play was like that of a veteran player. He couldn’t understand how he could have the mentality of a veteran pro player at his young age.
‘Don’t think about other things.’
He just concentrated and grabbed the ball. He couldn’t do a service ace so he thought he could do a serve where he could easily return the ball.
The ball landed on the left side of the service court. Han Woo Jin was ready to hit the ball before it even landed. This time, it was a backhand drive with a topspin.
His improved muscles made the hit more powerful than usual. Han Woo Jin hit the ball so powerfully that it went beyond his estimate, so he thought the rally was over. However, the ball came back with a weak return.
The ball rolled in front of the surprised Han Woo Jin.
Kim Jin Hyun was able to return the ball that he thought he couldn’t be returned.
He was shocked that he was able to return it.
‘Did I underestimate him? How could I do that?’
Han Woo Jin bit his lower lip. He tightened his mind that was currently like loose shoelaces.
Since when did he act like a strong person?
‘Han Woo Jin, get your act together.’
Kim Jin Hyun tossed the ball up once again. His serve was hit overhead, but it didn’t have much strength.
The ball barely passed the net and landed in the service court. This kind of serve had a low bounce to it, so it was hard to return. Only veteran players could use this type of technique.
However, in terms of veteran skills, Han Woo Jin did not lack them. Han Woo Jin returned the ball with the low bounce to Kim Jin Hyun’s court and won the point. It had a powerful topspin which gave his opponent almost no time to respond, but Kim Jin Hyun still almost hit the ball with his racket.
Now Han Woo Jin rearranged his thoughts about Kim Jin Hyun. He had much more resilience than Lee Yong Woon. He was a cunning pro that was extremely tenacious.
‘Was my type this annoying? A person who isn’t used to this kind of playstyle would have a hard time.’
The numbers in the status window didn’t represent true abilities. Kim Jin Hyun and Han Woo Jin’s playstyle had a special quality that was immeasurable. Their talent was something that could not expressed in numbers.
He was too overconfident after he had looked at the stats; he didn’t carefully measure his opponent.
Kim Jin Hyun’s playstyle gave him a moral lesson. Han Woo Jin threw away his arrogance. He didn’t seem like a very good player off the court, but on the contrary, he was respectably a pro on the court.
‘Should I play properly now?’
Han Woo Jin slightly relaxed his cold face. His body that was tight slowly loosened up so that he could release his true skill. He felt his body’s gear go up one notch.
Kim Jin Hyun’s serve this time was a straight flat. It was different from the earlier rallies. The speed and direction were completely different and it was kind of difficult to receive. However, the server also had to put a lot of energy into making the serve precise so as not to fault.
This was something that even Han Woo Jin could do which was why he was able to return it. He quickly ran and swung his racket horizontally. The ball hit the center of the racket which resulted in an increase in momentum. Before Kim Jin Hyun could react, the ball had already bounced out of the court.
Hearing the referee’s voice announce the score, Han Woo Jin looked over at the scoreboard.
This rally showed the two players’ difference in skill. The serve that he didn’t expect to be returned with Rising showed that the rally was in the palm of Han Woo Jin’s hand.
What was the expression on his opponent face?
Defeat? Sorrow? Despair? No expression? Several thoughts came up in his head and quickly disappeared.
Kim Jin Hyun didn’t show any of those expressions — he just glared at him with his eyes.
‘… Good, that’s how it’s supposed to be.’
His eyes glared at Han Woo Jin and showed his fighting spirit. It showed that he wouldn’t give up until the end of the match. Without caring about the difference in skill, he would keep on fighting back, and that was an opponent that made him excited.
‘He’s serving again.’
Han Woo Jin lowered his stance. The skill difference was large, but he wasn’t an opponent that he could go easy on.
He might have to use a lot of stamina. Regardless, Han Woo Jin kept smiling.
‘This is what a tournament should be like.’
It was a world where you couldn’t rest and had to keep on running.
Han Woo Jin hated winning easy matches.
The adrenaline released into his body pumped his hot blood.