God of Tennis - Chapter 11.2
After suddenly hearing Song Ki Joon’s voice, Han Woo Jin stopped eating.
“Mr. Han Woo Jin, may I ask you something?”
Han Woo Jin swallowed the fish and rice in his mouth first before answering because it was rude to speak with food in your mouth.
“This can be considered repayment for the egg stew.”
“Haha, you do know how to joke. You looked to be the cold type when I first saw you.”
But Han Woo Jin wasn’t joking. He narrowed his eyes and looked at him. Whether he saw the change in expression or not, Song Ki Joon continued talking.
“Mr. Han Woo Jin, why did you become a tennis player?”
“… I don’t know what you mean.”
This question wasn’t something that a pro would ask another pro. Han Woo Jin didn’t know exactly what he was talking about and so he just said that he didn’t understand.
Then Song Ki Joon asked again with an anxious face. He looked like he was waiting for his exam scores.
“There are many people who play tennis. But aren’t there only a few players who become pros?”
Han Woo Jin nodded.
Although many young kids dream of becoming a sports star when they get older, a majority are unable to realize that dream. Only a handful of those young kids become professionals in their sport and even a handful of those people become real stars.
“That means that those who become professionals have a reason to do so. It could be a reason from when they were young or they were raised to become a pro or because they have talent.”
Someone popped up into Han Woo Jin’s mind after hearing Song Ki Joon’s last sentence. He realized his talent and he was now going to start a successful career in tennis. The Choi Yeon Hyuk’s face, who was one step ahead of himself, also appeared.
Doing something you want to do and doing something that you are good at are completely different things. Could a genius leave that field of expertise?
That was the question that Han Woo Jin thought of while speaking to Song Ki Joon. Did the genius, Choi Yeon Hyuk, really like tennis?
This was something that even Han Woo Jin couldn’t imagine.
“I’m curious about your reason, Mr. Han Woo Jin. Not anyone else’s, just yours.”
Song Ki Joon’s voice stopped his thoughts. Han Woo Jin stopped eating and said, “Let me ask you a question. Why are you so interested in me? I’ve only played two to three matches.”
Han Woo Jin wanted to know his reason before answering to have knowledge of his obsession. He was just a rookie. Why was he so interested in him?
Song Ki Joon looked as if he expected that question and answered, “Because you didn’t have any experience.”
Han Woo Jin had nothing to retort. Like he said, Han Woo Jin had no records even from his junior years. That meant that Han Woo Jin never had any impact on the tennis world before this. Obviously, Song Ki Joon would be curious. Anyone would be interested in a newbie that suddenly got seeded in the tournament and easily won two matches.
Song Ki Joon thought that Han Woo Jin was about to speak. He moved his body forward expectantly and waited for his answer.
“You were probably nothing special when you were young. Yet now, you are strong. I’m curious as to how you suddenly became so strong.”
Song Ki Joon tried to stay calm but his voice rose even higher. Han Woo Jin felt a little repulsed by his actions because he wanted to know the secret to his improvement.
Han Woo Jin asked this question in his mind multiple times.
‘What would I do if I didn’t have the system?’
He thought that Song Ki Joon was asking him about his motivation as a player, like if he wanted to know if there was a special reason for him to play this well. However, in truth, Han Woo Jin had a special power that no one knew of.
So would it be okay to say that the system contributed to his talent or willpower? His ten years of regret and despair?
There were a lot of factors that occurred in his past ten years.
“… you just have to try hard.”
That short and simple sentence was the only thing that Han Woo Jin could say. He knows that answer wasn’t what he wanted, but he couldn’t say anything else. However, Song Ki Joon’s answer was out of his expectations.
“Whew, I envy you.”
Han Woo Jin’s blank face suddenly changed into one of surprise because of his answer.
‘He’s envious? What is he envious of?’
Song Ki Joon continued on and Han Woo Jin’s doubts were cleared.
“Of course, you went through many hardships to get to this point. I think your sudden growth in talent was only recent because there was no information about you before.”
He had a point. Han Woo Jin’s first impression of Song Ki Joon was that he was sloppy, but now he thought that he was quite sharp. Anyone that could reason like that, but Song Ki Joon could quickly process his thoughts. Han Woo Jin engraved his name into his mind beside Okuta in this tournament.
He was a hard player to familiarize oneself with. If he had his racket with him, he would be able to see his skills, but his racket was in his room. Either way, he can see his status on the court.
“I’m envious of players who are able to make it this far purely through effort although success wasn’t guaranteed for them, not you or just tennis players. All of those people put in that kind of effort.”
The atmosphere became serious. Song Ki Joon’s voice sounded like he was drunk with soju.
“Not to say thing out of the blue or brag or anything, but I come from a wealthy family. I can probably play around the rest of my life.”
Han Woo Jin thought he was talking as a drunkard. Song Ki Joon just laughed and spoke.
“That’s why I didn’t study hard and just drank and played games all the time. I didn’t have anything I wanted to do and there was nothing I needed to do. So all I did was play.”
Han Woo Jin realized something.
Song Ki Joon wasn’t bragging. He was mocking his own life as he did nothing but play. Han Woo Jin felt a sense of futility from him.
“Now that I’m all grown up and am an adult, it’s difficult for me to start new things. I’m too old for college. I decided to exercise because I was overweight. So I started playing tennis.”
Song Ki Joon swung his arm like he was holding a racket.
He probably swung a racket many times. Han Woo Jin saw his palm that was covered with calluses. His fingers were ashy, which was a sign of skin peeling off many times.
This kind of person didn’t put in any effort? Han Woo Jin was curious. His hands were those of someone that had held a racket for many years. Those calluses were something that disappeared only if one didn’t exercise for a while.
Yet Song Ki Joon’s hands were those that showed extreme practice and repetition up until now. Han Woo Jin’s hands were the same as his.
“I worked very hard up to now. I stopped drinking and playing around. I became a pro and played in several tournaments and my previously ruined relationships got a little better.”
“Then, isn’t that enough?”
He wanted to ask where he was going with this. Hearing Han Woo Jin ask his question, Song Ki Joon finally told him about his problem.
“I think that this is my limit. I can no longer improve.”
He was telling him it was too late for him.
Han Woo Jin walked back to his room while thinking about Song Ki Joon whom he was speaking to before.
The two of them just finished their chat. Song Ki Joon just wanted someone to complain to that could relate to him. He missed the critical time period for him to grow exponentially and just needed to vent about his regret for living such a spoiled life.
Han Woo Jin couldn’t relate to Song Ki Joon. Han Woo Jin had always lived a difficult life. His starting point was different from his as he just played around in the beginning.
‘… He was too late.’
If he could speak to the past, Han Woo Jin he would have told him to try harder. But since he had come back to the past, he no longer needed to do so.
Song Ki Joon realized that he fooled around too much in his past and couldn’t go back to fix it. Therefore, he gave up because there was no more room for improvement.
‘What went wrong? Is it because he lacks responsibility as a pro? Or does he regret his past too much?’
This wasn’t something that he can fully understand because he didn’t know about Song Ki Joon’s life in full and Song Ki Joon didn’t know about Han Woo Jin’s either.
If someone knew of Han Woo Jin’s past and that he came from the future, then they would call him a fool for repeating his tennis career.
If tennis was a hobby FOR Song Ki Joon, then tennis was Han Woo Jin’s life. This was the difference between Song Ki Joon and Han Woo Jin who had different starting points.
As Han Woo Jin walked up to the hotel entrance, he saw a familiar black suit. Holding a book in one hand without shaking, she was able to walk completely straight. The workaholic agent, Shin Sae Yeon.
He sighed when he saw her.
“You tell me to rest, but you’re working?”
“Ah, Mr. Woo Jin.”
She suddenly looked up at him. Her height of 170 cm was only slightly shorter than him who was 177 cm.
“Did you buy new clothes? Looks like you can wear other things besides sportswear.”
Was she making fun of him for only wearing sports clothes? Han Woo Jin looked at her as if he were saying, “Look who’s talking.”
“Then what about you Ms. Sae Yeon, do you wear anything besides suits?”
“Hm? Agents only wear suits.”
Han Woo Jin almost nodded his head. Because in movies and dramas, every agent wore a black suit.
So she always wore a suit because of that reason? His first impression of her was a bit cold, but after getting to know her a bit more, he laughed.
“You were watching a game?”
“Yes, I didn’t see anything special.”
Shin Sae Yeon shook her left eyebrow. That was her habit whenever she wasn’t satisfied with something. They both entered the elevator and pushed the button. Their rooms were different, but they were on the same floor.
The thought of Song Ki Joon popped up in his mind while in the elevator.
In order to get rid of him from his mind, he asked her a question.
“If you’re done with work today, do you want to go to a cafe together?”
Shin Sae Yeon was surprised by his offer and thought for a little bit before nodding her head.
She didn’t know why she nodded, but she mentioned, “If you drink caffeine it won’t be good for your game tomorrow.”
Han Woo Jin replied, “Then I’ll drink lemonade. … Did you film today’s matches?”
Seeing Shin Sae Yeon take out a camera from her bag, he felt slightly burdened. She worked hard.
“You can watch it later at the cafe.”
That was how this woman was like as he saw her walk to her room.
Han Woo Jin opened his door and put his bag in his room.
He grabbed his racket that was on the table.
‘Should I just go hit the ball on the wall?’
Although they were both going to go to a cafe together, he put the racket in his bag. Even though they were going to meet up later, there wasn’t any sort of romantic mood.
It looked like this was what their relationship was going to be like.