God of Tennis - Chapter 23
God of Tennis Chapter 23: End of Metz Open
The atmosphere inside of the car was dark. Shin Sae Yeon was sitting in the driver’s seat and Han Woo Jin and Coach Jeon were sitting in the back. To be accurate, only Coach Jeon was speaking.
“Do you have a brain or not?”
Coach Jeon spoke with an angry expression and tone. When he gets angry, he doesn’t shout or yell. He just speaks in a low voice.
Last time when Choi Yeon Hyuk tried to stay after his match to watch Han Woo Jin, even though he was clearly fatigued, he was just as mad as that time.
Sitting next to him, Han Woo Jin was just staring down at the car floor. He had no excuse. A stubborn pro player like Han Woo Jin got himself into a situation where he could have been seriously injured.
“I wouldn’t be mad if this was your last game. Do you plan on ending your career when you’ve only played two official matches? Huh?”
Coach Jeon’s anger was justified. Coach Jeon and the Chairman of the company, only chose two players to sponsor and one of those players made a stupid decision which could have costed him his future career.
Also, Han Woo Jin was only 23 years old. He will have plenty of opportunities to play games in the future, but why did he continue playing even though he was injured? Those actions are usually only done by players who are close to retiring.
He would have understood if Han Woo Jin was newbie. He could have said that as a newbie, the blood rushed to his head and he became arrogant due to his victories. But Coach Jeon knew Han Woo Jin wasn’t that kind of player. He might have been a newbie but he was a player that had the experience of a veteran.
The two people stayed like that for a long time, but the atmosphere soon changed when Coach Jeon calmed down a bit. With a frown and worried eyes he asked, “… How is your arm?”
Han Woo Jin looked up at Coach Jeon. He answered while waving his arm that was wrapped in bandages in front of him.
“It’s okay. The doctor said it was only a light inflammation. If i keep it like this, then it’ll go away in three days.”
“What a joke. Do you think your injury will get better immediately just because you got it bandaged? When you get to the hotel, put ice in a bag and ice your arm. Alright?”
The way Coach Jeon spoke was very tough-sounding, but Han Woo Jin’s nervous expression loosened a bit. But the way he spoke, signalled that he wasn’t blaming him. Seeing Han Woo Jin relax a bit after his scolding, Coach Jeon held back his next words.
‘How come, whenever I talk to him, I feel like I’m in the losing position?’
The awkward atmosphere disappeared after that, and now there was a more softer and relaxed atmosphere than earlier.
“Oh, did you come? Sit over there.”
They arrived at the hotel and finished their meal, Coach Jeon called Han Woo Jin over along with Shin Sae Yeon. As Coach Jeon told him earlier, Han Woo Jin had an ice pack wrapped around his arm which made him look a bit silly, but no one laughed.
As soon as Han Woo Jin sat down, Coach Jeon took out a piece of paper and placed it in front of him. It was a stack of papers.
“Woo Jin ssi, should I read it for you?”
Shin Sae Yeon asked with worry. She was worried that he might worsen the condition of his arm if he held the papers.
But Han Woo Jin shook his head as if it wasn’t a big problem. It was fine if he just moved his fingers a little. It was okay as long as he didn’t grip too hard to hold something too heavy.
Han Woo Jin’s eyes narrowed, who looked at the paper. These were all applications for different tennis tournaments. All of these applications had one thing in common, they were challenger league applications. There were a total of five applications before him.
Han Woo Jin nodded his head as he realized Coach Jeon’s meaning.
“The next tournament?”
“Yes, the next schedule… I thought this was too quick but you are going to be busy with this new schedule.”
Han Woo Jin didn’t know what he planned for him. But he knew Coach Jeon well. He knew that whatever he planned, he could trust him no matter what, whether success or failure. He was the best coach.
“Seoul, Kimchun, Kyoto… They’re all Asian tournaments. Did you deliberately choose these?”
“Because this will benefit you.”
Coach Jeon answered him without hesitation. When choosing which tournament to apply to, there are several conditions he needs to consider but he it was really important for the tournament to be close and the player’s level to be similar to Han Woo Jin’s.
If the tournament is located too far away, then they will just waste time traveling instead of being productive. Also, if the tournament that he participates in has players that are too high leveled then he won’t get many points and he will just uselessly waste energy.
Somebody might scold them, saying that they are only choosing matches that they can win. But it was an obvious decision of pros to choose games that they can win. It wasn’t like he was being spoon fed, but if the tournament is too far away, then many people will complain about the expenses for the tournament.
Of course, Han Woo Jin and Choi Yeon Hyuk didn’t need to worry about that stuff. But if they just waste money like that, then people won’t see them in a good light. Coach Jeon who printed out all of the tournaments, knew that these tournaments were suited for Han Woo Jin.
‘They can commute to these tournaments within 12 hours. And all of these tournaments are held within Asia so the level of opponents won’t be as high. Because of the low ranking players, it will be easier for him to get a seeded position.’
He must be angry due to today’s actions, but Coach Jeon was always reliable for his players. He also included the numbers/stats for the tournaments. He even planned what kind of transportation to use to get to the tournament, when they’re going and where they’re going to stay. Han Woo Jin read in detail and looked over all the schedules which were all packed.
If Shin Sae Yeon planned the trips, then it would have been a lot simpler. Of course, he isn’t saying that coach Jeon is wrong. It’s just that they have different styles. In Han Woo Jin’s opinion, he preferred Coach Jeon’s style.
“It’s a pretty busy schedule, but I knew that it would be no problem for you. You might have to participate in a match every other day.”
A person that doesn’t know when to give up will push his limits which will bring out his full potential. Coach Jeon knew how much Han Woo Jin pushed himself to surpass his limits. When this brat sets his mind to do something, then he won’t give up until he accomplishes it.
Just as he expected, Han Woo Jin responded right away. Even though he read this schedule where he might possibly run until his body will collapse he was confident.
“There’s no problem.”
If he said that he couldn’t do it, then he would have to try to convince him to go ahead with this schedule, but there was no need to do so and Coach Jeon swallowed his words. It was silent after they finished talking. The people in the room were all quite individuals so there was no talking.
But finally, Shin Sae Yeon opened her mouth to speak. She spoke thoughtlessly and due to her words the serious atmosphere turned a bit more cheerful.
“Coach, then how should I set up a schedule to return to Korea? They said that there are no tickets available currently until tomorrow.”
“Mm… we’re in no rush to return to Korea because of Woo Jin’s injury.”
Coach Jeon thought for a little bit before turning to Han Woo Jin. It was asking Han Woo Jin what he wanted to do.
“If there is no schedule for me, then I want to at least watch the finals of this tournament.”
“Okay, let’s do it.”
They didn’t need to worry about the money so they were relaxed about their finances. They just went along with whatever they decided. Shin Sae Yeon bought the plane tickets on the evening of the finals of the Metz Open, in order to save the most amount of time.
“Then go and rest. Don’t hang around and just go to sleep.”
“Yes, you too coach.”
Han Woo Jin left as Coach Jeon waved at him to leave. He had no energy so he closed the door quietly.
Coach Jeon had more business to discuss with Shin Sae Yeon, so she stayed behind. Shin Sae Yeon spoke first. She asked him with a curious face.
“Are you planning on sending him to the Tokyo Open first?”
He was surprised. If Han Woo Jin were still in the room, he would have been shocked. Because the Tokyo Open was a famous tournament.
The Tokyo tournament was Japan’s biggest tennis tournament. It was one level higher than the Metz Open.
The player that wins this tournament gains 500 ATP points. These points make it possible for the player to immediately charge into the top 100 of the world rankings.
Of course, that’s why this tournament is incredibly difficult. There are many ranked players who are in the top ten that will attend this tournament. This tournament isn’t something that Han Woo Jin should even think about attending.
“… You have good eyesight. Woo Jin got a good agent.”
“Isn’t this too early for him? I even think this Metz Open was too early for him.”
Shin Sae Yeon was worried about Han Woo Jin. Even though he got a good score in this tournament that was better than expected, he was still injured. If he attended this tournament after some more experience, he might not have gotten injured. But Coach Jeon’s thoughts were different from hers.
“There’s an old proverb. You must hit the iron when it’s hot. Woo Jin is now currently hot iron and he must be molded. We need to use this crucial time to push him forward.”
“But the Tokyo Open…”
“I know that it’s too early for him. But if he wasn’t ready for it, then I wouldn’t send him. You don’t need to worry about it.”
Coach Jeon also agreed with Shin Sae Yeon’s opinion that this tournament was a little too early for Han Woo Jin, but he had high expectations. Han Woo Jin was always a player that went above and beyond his expectations.
‘If, he really…’
If he gets good scores in the five challenger tours and if he is able to win one ATP 250 tournament…
It is possible for him to get a seeded placement in the Tokyo Open.
Han Woo Jin’s eyes didn’t leave the court of the Metz Open until the match ended. There were games that went as he expected and others that went against his expectations and surprised him. Ever since the tournament reached the top eight, there were two specific players that he had his eyes on.
Leonard Sweet who beat him in the top 16.
Andrew Murray who beat Choi Yeon Hyuk in the top 32.
Han Woo Jin expected one of those two to win the tournament. That’s how much he thought those two were ahead of the other players in terms of skill in this tournament.
But their schedule made it so that those two players met in the semi-finals. Both players were over 190 cm tall, so their rallies were very broad. (?) With a few large steps, they can move swiftly to the other side of the court.
The winner was Andrew. Han Woo Jin was really disappointed that he was the one that helped him win.
‘To think that the damage I inflicted on Leonard would help Andrew.’
Andrew took advantage of the small injury that Han Woo Jin gave to Leonard with the Slug and pushed his lead. That small injury, destroyed the even balance that they had during the middle of the match. Andrew beat Leonard in three sets, but the previous two sets were dead even.
Han Woo Jin thought that because Andrew beat Leonard, he would win the tournament, but contrary to expectation he didn’t. Andrew used too much stamina during his match with Leonard and lost in the finals.
The final winner of the Metz Open was an American player named Thomas Jackson that he never heard of. Jackson’s skills were something that, even Han Woo Jin could probably beat. If he was in Jackson’s shoes….
“… he is so lucky…”
People say that luck is also a type of skill. But he still couldn’t help but feel regretful. Han Woo Jin clicked his tongue and left the stadium. That’s how his first ATP tour at the Metz Open ended.