God of Tennis - Chapter 20.1
God of Tennis Chapter 20.1
Chapter 20.1: Andrew vs Choi Yeon Hyuk #1
Andrew Murray : Yeonhyuk Choi
Han Woo Jin looked and blinked at the paper multiple times to see if he saw wrong but the words didn’t change. Choi Yeon Hyuk’s first match in the main tournament was against Andrew Murray.
He’s the person who will become the second world ranker in the future who will eventually win one of the four big tournaments.
‘Even Yeonhyuk will have a difficult time against him. How could he be this strong at this age?’
During 2008, he has gotten second place at the U.S. Open. At that time, he won two masters tournaments consecutively and won an ATP 1000 league and was rising into the sky as a British tennis hero.
Others don’t know about Andrew Murray in detail like Han Woo Jin, but their faces also had an uncertain expression looking at Andrew’s past experiences. They thought that Choi Yeon Hyuk wouldn’t be Andrew’s opponent.
“He’s a scary guy… He immediately played in an ATP tournament as his first tournament the year he debuted as a pro. This Andrew guy has the potential to be in the top 50 players in the world.”
Coach Jeon’s words were right on the mark. He spoke with confidence as if he could see the future that Han Woo Jin knew. He looked at the track record of Andrew from last year.
‘This will be hard… If Yeon Hyuk had one more year, then it might be possible, but not now.’
The difference between pro players’ skills are divided into steps.
Top rankers are in the top ten, high rankers are within the top 50 and etc. Ever since 2010 the top rankers have always included Roger, Nadal (author wrote napal) Andrew and Djokovic.
The present Choi Yeon Hyuk, although he might play well, would probably only make the top 100 rankers. He won’t be able to reach Andrew, who is in the top 50’s.
Suddenly, the percentage of Choi Yeon Hyuk winning this match has greatly lowered. Although, it is possible he might get lucky, it is unlikely.
“This will be hard.”
Choi Yeon Hyuk was the first to break the silence and spoke what was on everyone’s mind. Even though he knew that his opponent will be really strong, his facial expression didn’t change. Rather, his face had an expression as if it was obvious that he will lose.
Choi Yeon Hyuk asked Jeon Sang Shik a question in a way of speech had no emotion. His attitude was that of someone who accepted the outcome, like a true professional.
“I know that it will be difficult for me to win the next game. Coach what should I do?”
“… I haven’t been acting my age.” (because CYH has better a mentality about it than coach)
Coach Jeon bit his lip.
His player had an attitude that still had a will to fight yet, he as a coach has already given up on his player. This is a disgrace.
He looked over at Han Woo Jin and asked.
“Woo Jin, you don’t have a problem right?”
Han Woo Jin agreed without any hesitation. John Walter. He isn’t someone he should be worried about losing to. If he maintained his usual condition, then he should win. Coach Jeon didn’t need to help Han Woo Jin for the next match. His first priority right now is dealing with Andrew Murray.
Jeon Sang Shik turned over to Choi Yeon Hyuk and continued speaking to him. Surprisingly, the athlete has inspired the coach.
Coach Jeon knew he would probably stay up all night and told Choi Yeon Hyuk to come to his room after dinner. He sincerely wanted to brainstorm ways to defeat Andrew.
Han Woo Jin looked at the two of them and was worried. He knew the result of the 2006 year during the ATP tour. Andrew participated in many ATP tours this year and won the ATP league once.
But Han Woo Jin didn’t remember which tournament that he won.
Time flew by quickly. Jeon Sang Shik looked exhausted after spending the whole night looking over Andrew Murray’s games, compared to Han Woo Jin who spent a night without worry.
Starting from the main tournament, players were now allowed to sit in the stands until it was time for their matches. So Han Woo Jin sat by Coach Jeon and spoke to him.
“Coach, are you alright?”
“… Do I look fine to you?”
“No, not a bit.”
Han Woo Jin answered bluntly. Coach Jeon had dark circles under his eyes and his usual chubby cheeks had sunken in. He could guess that he was trying really hard from the empty cans of energy drinks.
Choi Yeon Hyuk needed to be ready for his match and be in top condition so he most likely slept. But Coach Jeon obviously pulled an all-nighter and immediately planned out the match with Choi Yeon Hyuk after he woke up.
He always worked really hard but he always pretended as if he didn’t do any work and was lazing around. Han Woo Jin raised his lips. If he laughed at him, he would get scolded.
Coach Jeon’s serious voice entered his ear. Han Woo Jin answered like usual. He expected what Coach Jeon was about to ask him.
“What do you think?”
“Are you talking about Yeon Hyuk?”
He asked even though he knew what he was talking about. He wanted some time to think a little. Han Woo Jin thought about many things until the coach nodded. He compared the two players stats and their playstyles. The answer is obvious.
“I think that Andrew is seven and Yeon Hyuk is three.”
“That’s you being nice to Yeon Hyuk right?”
This time Han Woo Jin didn’t reply. Jeon Sang Shik’s eyes were sharp even though he couldn’t see the players stats.
His instincts as a coach were developed through years of work like a special skill. Coach Jeon laughed at Han Woo Jin who couldn’t reply because of what he said. His face looked exhausted but he saw that his face was confident.
“I think so too. But, I was nice to Yeon Hyuk too and thought it was 7:3 also.”
Han Woo Jin actually believed it to be 8:2 but Coach Jeon spoke with such confidence that his mind was changed. Coach Jeon never exaggerates.
The two stopped talking and soon the first match of the top 32 ended. Right after, the next match was Choi Yeon Hyuk and Andrew’s turn.
“That’s why tennis is difficult for asians, caucasians are all tall…”
Choi Yeon Hyuk was pretty tall at 186 cm, but Andrew was even taller. And he was only 19 years old and was already 190 cm, he still had a little more room to grow. Because the court’s size is limited, the height difference will allow the taller person an advantage as they have a longer reach.
Because they have to move less to hit the ball, and they can cover and wider range of area. Technique is important but physical ability is also important as well in sports. Han Woo Jin realized once again about his lack of physical capabilities. But he wasn’t discouraged.
‘I can win even though I might be lacking in some areas.’
Michael Chang who was shorter than him at 175 cm was in the top two among the top rankers whose heights were all at least 185 cm.
He thought that he could also become like him. Han Woo Jin looked at the player who cheered for an the player he was a fan of and felt conflicted as he clenched his fists. He felt anxious but at the same time he really wanted to play with them on the court.
“Andrew Murray on my right! Yeonhyuk Choi on my left! Andrew to serve!”
It looked like the coin toss was already finished, when he wasn’t paying attention. He could see Andrew receive the ball. He looked even bigger in person.
Concentration and strong will is what he felt from Andrew. He had a special aura that usually only top rankers have.
He unconsciously swallowed his saliva. He came to his senses hearing the referee’s voice.
“Love all! Play!”
Andrew threw up the ball. It went up incredibly high because of his 190 cm height. As the ball goes higher, the serve becomes sharper. That’s why everyone talks about physical capabilities.
Han Woo Jin saw Andrew’s shoulder turn. That was all.
It was a frightening speed.
He got goosebumps just from hearing it. Andrew’s long arms and legs enabled him to swing his racket quickly which made the ball hit Choi Yeon Hyuk’s court like lightning.
Furthermore, the ball was extremely precise. Usually, the faster a ball is, the less accurate it is. However, Andrew’s serve hit exactly on the sideline that everyone would usually think is out. If a player thought that the ball was out and stopped moving, that would be too late for them to change their minds.
Han Woo Jin concentrated on the game and his eyes were glued on the ball. If you can’t predict where the ball will land, then you will never be able to hit it.
Choi Yeon Hyuk wasn’t able to return a single ball and lost the first game. The four points were all service aces. It was probably his first time losing a game like this to normal serves.
But Choi Yeon Hyuk didn’t look perplexed at all. Rather he seemed to be coldly examining the situation. It was the same as when he observed Han Woo Jin’s Sparrow. He grabbed the ball tightly.
It was time for him to attack.
As soon as the referee signalled to begin, Choi Yeon Hyuk immediately threw up the ball. He had some confidence when it came to speed of serves.
This time it was Andrew’s turn to open his eyes widely. Choi Yeon Hyuk’s physique was pretty good but he was an Asian player. Asians usually can’t serve over a 200 km/h speed. But Choi Yeon Hyuk’s serve went over it.
The speed gun next to the referee showed the speed of his serve.
Andrew stopped himself. If he says fuck, he would get a warning. He was staring disbelievingly at the radar.
He continued doing those fast serves. Andrew moved a few steps to try to return them. The speed was too fast and it wasn’t something a person could get used to after seeing just one or two times.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
Another game was given out by just service aces. The audience applauded at the players and shouted because they were excited, watching this serve battle. Han Woo Jin and the others were also cheering for him. Han Woo Jin spoke in an excited voice.
“There probably won’t be a break for a while.”
“Andrew is used to defense but his type relies on his senses. Until he can get used to those fast serves, he won’t be able to do anything.”
If Andrew was a calculating type like Han Woo Jin, it would be a different story, but he is a genius that relies on his instinct and senses. Players who rely on instinct are really good at immediate response.
However, they are weak if the ball is just too fast for them.
Choi Yeon Hyuk’s fast serve targeted Andrew’s weakness.
The two players battled it out with their fast serves. While they switched serves, they only got points by service aces.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
The game was dizzying to the eyes. In a short time period the score repeated itself twice.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
2 – 1, 2 – 2, 3 – 2, 3 – 3, 4 – 3…….
The two players continued playing and winning games without a single fault. Their concentration was increasing as the game went on because of their equal skill level. Two minutes was enough to serve four times. That was the reason why 10 games didn’t last over 15 minutes.
All of the games were won by service ace, and they never rallied.
That’s why the score eventually arrived at 5 – 5 very quickly.
When they arrived at deuce the time that passed was only 14 minutes and 18 seconds.
Andrew Murray and Choi Yeon Hyuk were breathing heavily as they stared at each other. Because their concentration was pushed to their limits, they were sweating heavily and their heads were drenched in sweat.
They were already exhausted in 15 minutes and they both expected this outcome early on.
As soon as one of them is able to return their opponent’s serve, the game’s balance will shift.