God of Tennis - Chapter 21.3
GoT Chp 21.3
The ten minute break time that was given to them between the sets always ended before the players’ sweat even dried off from their clothes. As Han Woo Jin expected, John’s stamina was completely spent while the second set wasn’t even halfway done. John’s failure in the first set gave him even more psychological pressure.
However, John still tried to win. He somehow continued to move his trembling legs and hit the ball.
The current result of the score was 5-2. Although John was completely spent, he was still a pro player that was participating in an ATP tour. It was difficult for Han Woo Jin to do another perfect set. If this game was in the finals, he would have tried his best to end the match but he needed to conserve his stamina and save his energy for his next match.
Han Woo Jin admired him. John had been exhausted since the fifth game and breathed heavily with difficulty but kept playing. No one could look down on him for persevering so hard. He wouldn’t stop playing and moving his legs and even in that condition was able to win a couple games.
It was Han Woo Jin’s turn to serve and got into position. This was the end. John couldn’t control his legs and arms so there wasn’t any possibility for him to win his serve game.
John didn’t move at all even when the ball hit the ground and bounced. No, it was more like he couldn’t move. He just stood there and stared at the ball. The referee’s voice was heard throughout the court.
Han Woo Jin used a flat serve and aimed at the corner of the court. Even in this situation, Han Woo Jin aimed the ball at the most difficult position for John to reach. Han Woo Jin’s attitude of being cautious until the end of the match is him showing respect to John’s perseverance.
It was the last serve. He emotionlessly tossed up the ball. He didn’t have any reason to waste time.
“Game Woojin Han! Match won by Woojin Han! 6-0, 6-2!”
They heard the referee announce the end of the match and they both walked up to the net and shook hands. Although they didn’t speak to each other, silently communicated to each other through their eyes, showing respect.
John was feeling regretful about ending this Metz Open early, and he was also surprised about finding such a strong and young Asian tennis player.
“Nice play, Mr. Han.”
Han Woo Jin was surprised by the sudden compliment given to him. John gave him a slight nod before turning away. Even though John lost this game, his back was straight and showed that he didn’t feel bad about losing to him.
He once again heard the voice inside his head after he left the court.
[Great play! Your lowest stat has increased by one due to you winning your first match in an ATP tour.] [Great play! The skills that you used this game has gained experience.] [Your lob level has increased by one.] [The achievement of your ATP 250 tour victory will be calculated after all of your matches in this tournament.]
This was something he never heard from the system before. Han Woo Jin walked up to the stands and tilted his head trying to understand what it was saying. The system wasn’t kind enough to explain anything to him. He would probably find out soon after the tournament.
‘Since it said it was going to calculate my achievements after all of my matches… so it will probably finish calculating my score after the rest of the matches in the top 16.’
It will most likely finish calculating at the end of the tournament.
While he was making his own guesses about what it meant, he already arrived at where his group was. Han Woo Jin, seeing that Choi Jun Sung and Choi Yeon Hyuk weren’t here, swallowed what he was about to say. What could he say in this situation?
As expected, Coach Jeon only had spoke a short sentence.
“You worked hard, let’s go.”
Their steps as they walked were heavier than yesterday because now there was only three of them instead of five. When they arrived at the parking lot, Choi Jun Sung was alone waiting for them. It looked like he came back with the car after dropping off Choi Yeon Hyuk.
Han Woo Jin and company got into the car without a word. The car was silent the entire ride back to the hotel.
Han Woo Jin wasn’t able to see Choi Yeon Hyuk’s face the entire time during dinner. He couldn’t ask about him first. The player who won their match asking to see the one who lost will only make the loser angry.
After finishing his meal, he was playing with his spoon. They had a meal in the hotel restaurant, so Han Woo Jin couldn’t leave early. Coach Jeon didn’t like him fidgeting and spoke up.
“If you have nothing better to do, go get a breath of fresh air. Don’t play with your spoon. After you digest, I will have a briefing with you about tomorrow’s opponent.”
Han Woo Jin was relieved. It was a suffocating atmosphere because he didn’t know what to say. He didn’t like the awkward situation.
*Kiik* (door opening)
As soon as he opened the hotel door, he felt the cool outside air. The sun was completely down and the Metz wind was cold. Han Woo Jin had realized how cold the weather is at night during his stay at Metz, so he wore a long sleeved shirt and didn’t get too cold.
Because he was going to have a briefing soon, he couldn’t far. This hotel was located outside the perimeter of the city’s center, so there was nowhere special for him to go.
‘Should I just take a walk around in a circle?’
His body began to tremble because of the cold wind. If he stood still, in this cold then he would feel colder even though he was wearing a long-sleeve shirt. He decided to take a walk around the motel, but he suddenly stopped.
After he turned around he suddenly saw a familiar face behind the hotel.
Choi Yeon Hyuk’s agent, Choi Jun Sung was leaning on the wall smoking a cigarette.
“Jun Sung hyung?”
“Ah, Woo Jin-ah.”
After spending a few days in Metz together, they became more familiar with each other. Choi Yeon Hyuk and Han Woo Jin were the same age at 23. Choi Jun Sung was 28 years old. In accordance with Korean culture, they began calling each other hyung and dongsaeng.
Choi Jun Sung was halfway done with his cigarette but put it out because Han Woo Jin was walking towards him. He did so in a quick motion as he put it out under his foot.
“You don’t have to stop because of me.”
“I’m doing it for myself. How can I, who is an agent for professional athletes, smoke in front of them?”
Choi Jun Sung’s appearance was slightly chubby but when he worked he was always serious. Even though they call each other familiarly, there was still a barrier between them as an agent and player. This line that was drawn before them showed its effects when he stopped smoking when the player came close to him.
Han Woo Jin just smiled and stood next to him. The two of them stood silently. The cold wind didn’t pass by them because of the building structure behind them.
Han Woo Jin didn’t know what to say but Choi Jun Sung spoke first.
“Congrats on getting into the top 16.”
“Ah… thanks, hyung.”
He didn’t know how to reply except for saying thanks. Choi Jun Sung wasn’t his agent and his player lost his match today. It would be awkward for him to talk about that topic. That’s why Han Woo Jin just had a brief thanks.
The two of them just had some small talk. Things like how strong his opponent was and how many ATP points he would earn for reaching the top 16 and so on. Suddenly, their conversation changed to a different topic because of Choi Jun Sung.
“I’m going back to Korea tomorrow.”
“You’re going back?”
He said in surprise. But soon he realized what he was saying. An agent isn’t needed when there isn’t a player. So the only thing that Choi Jun Sung could do was go back home. Choi Yeon Hyuk, his player was also going back.
Han Woo Jin thought for a little bit before speaking. They were leaving earlier than he expected.
“Did Yeon Hyuk already choose another tournament? I don’t think he needs to go back this quickly.”
“Yeah, I barely got another one.”
Choi Jun Sung admitted to Han Woo Jin’s question. The reason they were going back so quickly was because of the schedule of the next tournament. He had quite the difficult time changing their plane ticket to tomorrow which was set to take off after the Metz Open was over.
Han Woo Jin’s face was easy to read as he wanted to know about Choi Yeon Hyuk’s next tournament.
He saw letters that he was familiar with.
“Uh? This is Japanese.”
“I wanted to get into a Korean tournament… but this was the one closest to our current date. Sapporo Open.”
The Sapporo Open was one of the Challenger League tournaments. Usually, this tournament wasn’t something you could enter right before the tournament began. There are two reasons why Choi Jun Sung was able to put in Choi yeon Hyuk into this tournament.
“One of the seeded players dropped out of the tournament because of an injury and Yeon Hyuk was able to take his place. It wasn’t good for that player but it was good for us.”
“Luckily, he was able to get a seeded spot. It should have been difficult for him to get a seeded placement.”
Truthfully, Han Woo Jin’s words were right. However, there was one thing he forgot. That their sponsor was Chairman Jo.
“Yeah, you’re right. If it was either in Europe or the U.S. it probably wouldn’t have happened. But since it’s Japan, the Chairman has some influence there.”
“Ah, the chairman…”
The Chairman was one of the most passionate people about tennis in Korea. Almost all of Korea’s tennis tournament were sponsored by his company and his support. So his word carries a lot of weight in Korea’s tennis sphere.
In Korea, tennis isn’t a very popular sport but Chairman Jo is a very influential man. He has enough influence to give one of his players a seeded spot in a Japanese tournament. That’s how Choi Yeon Hyuk could participate in the Sapporo Open.
“But aren’t you being too hasty right now? I don’t know if he will fully recover from this tournament that fast.”
Choi Jun Sung shook his head and replied. Actually, he was also thinking the same thing. The Sapporo Open began too close to the Metz Open.
“I also told him that, but he insisted on participating. I might be his agent but ultimately it’s the player’s decision.”
“Yeon Hyuk decided on this?”
Han Woo Jin’s eyes widened in surprise. Choi Yeon Hyuk was always someone who judged things calmly. This decision was unlike him. Han Woo Jin thought that this decision was from Chairman Jo but he was wrong.
Choi Jun Sung, seeing his surprised expression nodded. Seeing Han Woo Jin, who is the closest person to Choi Yeon Hyuk be surprised about his decision made him affirm his thoughts that he was being too hasty.
“But it’s still a relief. I was worried that he would get unmotivated after his loss against Andrew. He’s even more motivated now.”
“… I guess that’s good.”
On the bright side, this was a good thing, but Han Woo Jin, felt a bit empty. He thought of Choi Yeon Hyuk was his rival, yet he was leaving this tournament first.
But Han Woo Jin thought that this was okay. The Metz Open isn’t the only place where he can fight against Choi Yeon Hyuk. They will have another chance in the future.
Today, Han Woo Jin won and Choi Yeon Hyuk lost.
For now, the two player’s paths will go in different directions.