God of Tennis - Chapter 18.3
Chapter 17.3: 1st Round Qualifying #3
Fabian’s confidence from the beginning of the match disappeared and was now replaced with anger and frustration. As his face was red from exhaustion while he stood on the court.
Fabian looked at the ball that was in his palm and his hand trembled with anxiety.
‘I’m going to lose? And in the first round of the preliminaries?’
His opponent was a puny low ranker from Korea that he’d never even heard of before. His experience was only winning a single Futures tournament. He thought that the Korean was just a rookie that had some skill and that this would be an easy win for him. But reality was completely different from what he expected on the court.
Han Woo Jin discovered Fabian’s serve pattern and timing after the first set’s second game and after that, he was able to reach a break. Han Woo Jin’s underhand serve was what allowed him to win points against Fabian.
You could say that this was a complete defeat for Fabian. It’s already the end of the second set. The score is already 5 to 2.
“Fabian Serving play!”
The referee shouted for the game to start right away and looked like he didn’t care about Fabian’s current state of mind. He might get a warning from the referee if he didn’t serve soon. Without a choice, Fabian threw up the ball.
Unlike the first set, when his serves were explosive and sounded like a balloon popping, they were now lifeless and dull.
‘The speed is still good… but it’s not enough.’
Han Woo Jin with a neutral expression went after the ball. Compared to Fabian’s serves at the beginning of the game, these weren’t that difficult to deal with. As soon as the ball bounced, Han Woo Jin hit it back.
Fabian’s face was ugly to look at. He couldn’t accept the reality that his Metz Open was already over.
If Han Woo Jin received the ball perfectly like this then the advantage of the serve game will be lost for him. It meant that Han Woo Jin now knew how to return his serves.
He would become a laughingstock if he gave up now. Fabian gave up the thought of forfeiting and continued to serve.
The ball was weak and there was no motivation behind his serve so it was impossible for Han Woo JIn to miss. He easily returned Fabian’s serve with a rising. Han Woo Jin scored two points in less than one minute.
“Love forty! Match point Woojin Han!”
The game was pretty much over at this point. Han Woo Jin would pass through the first round of the preliminaries after the next ball. He breathed out and examined the condition of his body.
‘… not bad. My stamina didn’t drop that much.’
His tennis racket began to feel a bit heavy and big. Because he has to swing around and hold his racket for so long, his hand begins to feel tired. That’s why oftentimes, when players win or finish a match you can see them drop their rackets.
Have you ever experienced arm wrestling for a long period of time and putting all your strength into your fist and letting it go after you win?
Right now, Han Woo Jin’s arm was a little swollen. This meant that he played quite seriously during this match.
There was only one thing that he felt regretful of. Fabian’s serve was incredibly fast and powerful, so it was really hard to smash it. Which is why it was impossible for him to practice ‘Slug’ (his new skill).
‘I’ll have to try it out the next match.’
Anyway, he wanted to exert his superiority during the first set but he was given no chance to smash the ball.
Han Woo Jin waited for his opponent’s serve. He took a long time.
Fabian! Serving play!”
Fabian was too scared to serve as it might be his serve of the tournament. The referee gave him a warning to hurry and serve. It was at that moment that he tossed up the ball. His toss was full of regret.
It looked like he put all his strength because he knew it would be his last serve. The ball flew with great speed but Han Woo Jin didn’t run away from the ball but instead went forward to receive it.
Although he couldn’t clearly see the ball bounce, he was able to receive the ball from the experience of where the previous serves were like and hit the ball back.
Han Woo Jin figured out how to return Fabian’s serve a long time ago.
“Game Woojin Han! Match won by Woojin Han!”
Han Woo Jin returned the ball with a loud grunt and the referee stood up and waved both his arms while announcing his victory.
[Great play! Because of your first victory in your first ATP 250 tournament one of your stats has been randomly increased by 2 points]
[Great play! Your experience of a skill has increased due to your victory!]
[Forehand level up by 1.]
[Drop shot level up by 1.]
It’s no joke.
That’s what Han Woo JIn thought. The skill level was completely different from the futures league. When he won the futures league, he only got a total of three stat points but here in the ATP 250 league, he just played in the first preliminaries yet he got so much.
‘The higher the league, the more rewards I get for winning. I made a good decision to come here to the Metz Open.’
He chose this tournament because of an emotional standpoint not based on his skill and standing. But the additional experience and rewards that he gained made him content.
Han Woo Jin turned off the status window in his mind and focused back to his opponent and put out his hand and FAbian looked at him with a depressed face and spoke.
“ [You really play in an annoying way.] “
It was in French.
Han Woo Jin had no idea what he said to him so he replied in English but he didn’t say anything back. His didn’t look like he was upset because he lost but was just frustrated and disappointed in himself. Fabian let out a deep sigh.
“ [Well, a loss is a loss.] Good luck, rookie.”
The only thing that Han Woo Jin understood was “good luck” which was spoken in English and Han Woo Jin said “thanks” in reply expressionlessly. Fabian smiled and left the court.
Han Woo Jin thought that he was going to start a fight but instead walked off peacefully which surprised him.
‘Fabian is a good person.’
He could have cursed him for only serving underhand serves from the beginning to the end but he didn’t and instead encouraged him. And he ended this match on a good note. This was a great example of good sportsmanship.
Han Woo Jin who won his first match in the tournament exited the court with a smile on his face and Choi Yeon Hyuk put out his hand to Han Woo Jin.
The meaning was clear.
“Punk, you’re really good at making others worry about you.”
“Didn’t I say there was no problem?”
“Keep talking. You should have seen your face in the mirror earlier.”
The two guys high-fived and chatted. Han Woo Jin felt like his condition was still pretty good after that match. He’s the kind of player who was better in real life matches than practice.
Han Woo Jin looked at the audience who were in the stands. He stared at the direction where Coach Jeon and the two others were at. They saw Han Woo JIn and waved their hands at him.
Han Woo Jin asked Choi Yeon Hyuk.
“There’s a break time after all of the preliminary matches right?”
“I think they said they will gives us an hour. The person who plays last won’t get much time to rest.”
One hour. It’s enough time for a single match to be played. However, the time wasn’t that long either. If a player wanted enough time to recover, they needed at least three hours to get back enough energy.
That’s why players want to be the first to play during the preliminaries instead of being the last so that they have more time to recover for their next match. In that case, if they come up against opponents that are on the same level as them, they will undoubtedly lose.
When looking at that perspective, Han Woo Jin was in a pretty good position because he is currently the second match out of six and Choi Yeon Hyuk is the fourth.
His situation wasn’t the best but it also wasn’t the worst.
The two players were thinking in their own minds. Han Woo Jin was thinking about his play schedule while Choi Yeon Hyuk was thinking about his upcoming match.
“Yeon Hyuk, who’s your opponent?”
“It’s a guy named Dmitri. A Russian.”
In the future, Dmitri was a famous world ranker for Bulgaria but it was a common name so it shouldn’t be the same person in this tournament. He thought about it and recalled that Dmitri still hasn’t debuted yet.
Han Woo Jin erased that possibility from his mind. Dmitri debuted in the year 2008 or 2009, completely different from the player Andrew.
The two who were speaking to each other were interrupted by the referee.
“Choi! Mr. Choi from Korea!”
During this Metz tournament the only two Asians were Han Woo Jin and Choi Yeon Hyuk. When they heard the last name Choi, they knew they were talking about him. Choi Yeon Hyuk got up right away and picked up his racket.
Han Woo Jin didn’t know what to say to encourage him and simply said.
“Win quickly and come back.”
“I will. Hyungnim, just have something cool to drink for me when I get back.”
Choi Yeon Hyuk grinned. He swung his racket around as he walked onto the court. He loosened his wrist and shoulder and looked like he wasn’t nervous at all, looking at his posture. It seemed like he didn’t need to worry about it.
The problem was the second match of the preliminaries.
Han Woo JIn closed his eyes and was pondering on the best and worst situations possible. He wanted to do his best to reach the top 16 with as much stamina as possible.
“You two worked hard. Do you guys know who your next opponents are?”
Coach Jeon asked them who both won their matches. He had the urge to hit their heads when they won their first game easily and were in bliss because their agents were observing them from behind.
The two nodded their heads at the same time. They were told that the second rounds of the preliminary would be after the break. It would be difficult to prepare without know who your opponent is.
“Don’t think too much about it and drink a lot of water and rest. Your opponent’s condition will be the same, the thing that it comes down to is skill.”
Han Woo Jin ate a calorie bar that Shin Sae Yeon handed him. It was better than the food that took a long time to digest. He drank water so that he didn’t dry out his throat.
They didn’t need to prepare for the next match, so all they had to do was eat and rest up.
So that they don’t fall asleep or doze off, they occasionally stood up and walked around.
After one hour, the staff began to call the player’s names.
“I will be back.”
The two players began walking onto the court and Coach Jeon spoke to them from behind. What he said couldn’t really count as encouragement but it was his special way of encouraging them.
“The second round of the preliminaries isn’t that different from the first round so you guys can easily do it. Your guys skills are more than good enough.”
The two affirmed what their coach told them and moved to their places.
Han Woo Jin and Choi Yeon Hyuk arrived at the players seats and looked at the player’s schedule on the wall. Because many players were already there surrounding that spot they had to get on their tippy toes and look hard for their names.
Han Woo Jin found his name.
Woojin Han : Daniel Paterson
Han Woo Jin spoke out aloud his opponents name whom he had never heard of.