Novel Name : God of Tennis

God of Tennis - Chapter 25.4

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Chapter 25.4: Kim Chun Open # 3
Translator: Pineapple
Editor: ouroboros
After his easy victory in the first game, Han Woo Jin’s time in the Kim Chun Open went smoothly without any problems. There wasn’t a player that was an obstacle to him that could make him use his full power. That Thai player that he went against in the second round wasn’t a match for him. Han Woo Jin’s ranking wasn’t aligned with his true skills.
But the match wasn’t that easy.
Han Woo Jin wiped the sweat on his forehead and his palms. Because if he ignored the sweat, then his grip might get worse.
‘It’s harder than expected.’
Han Woo Jin, who played with many individuals that were top world rankers at the Metz Open, unconsciously looked down on the players attending this Challenger League. Of course, they aren’t on the level of Leonard and Andrew. But they couldn’t be underestimated.
On the other hand, it was possible that Park Sung Min was the weakest player in this tournament in this group. Han Woo Jin had a slight bitter taste in his mouth from his opponent who began attacking him without hesitation as soon as he made a small mistake. That’s why he couldn’t get a perfect score like in his previous match.
The Thai player, Chompu, tossed up the ball with a dark expression because he fully expected defeat. He got a breakpoint in over half of his serve games, so obviously he is going to lose.
A player’s stamina is extremely important in a match, but a player’s mental state is also crucial. Players who had already given up the match lose the sharp edge of their serves and the speed and direction of their serve becomes shaky. When that happens, the rally has no meaning.
Han Woo Jin fully understood that Chompu lost his will to fight due to his Han Woo Jin’s greater experience. Chompu probably didn’t even bring out half of Han Woo Jin’s full strength.
Han Woo Jin gracefully returned the serve with a topspin stroke. A ball with a spin added to it can change its direction and curve in midair. As soon as the ball flew across the net it bounced on the court multiple times.
“15:40! Han Woo Jin, match point!”
The score was currently 3-5 with Han Woo Jin in the lead. In the first set, Han Woo Jin won 2-6 and if he scores one more point, then he can finish this match. Han Woo Jin realized his body’s tired condition and clicked his tongue. Rather than him moving around too much, the problem of his exhaustion was the hot summer sun.
‘It’s not a joke that the Australian Open kills players the most. (kill as in fatigue) Even in South Korea, playing outdoors in the sun is this tiring.’
The Australia Open was famous for having its players quickly become exhausted during their matches. This fourth grand slam tournament starts with 64 players unlike the usual 32 in the main tournament because every player gains a huge amount of fatigue after a single match of playing in that hot Australian sun.
Also, because it is one of the grand slams, the players have to win three out of five sets to win the match. If they can’t win the first three games, then they will have to play the full five games. They’re already playing in extremely hot conditions and they have to play for such a long time which is what gets to them.
Han Woo Jin was thinking about the Australian Open’s harsh environment as Chompu served. Chompu was slightly under 180 cm, so the height of his serve was lower as well. But his speed was decent. Chompu’s regular serve was already better than Park Sung Min’s best serve in both speed and accuracy.
However, although this ball was fast, Han Woo Jin was unfazed as he got used to this speed during the first set. Han Woo Jin hit the ball back to Chompu’s service court and he thought that this was the end.
‘… He’s not moving.’
Chompu was standing still in the same spot. He had his racket lowered and just waited for the ball. Han Woo Jin didn’t need to worry so he was just lightly holding his racket as he returned the ball.
The ball crossed over the net and Chompu just looked at the ball bounce away. That’s how Han Woo Jin’s second match of the Kim Chun Open ended.
“Game Han Woo Jin! Match won by Han Woo Jin! Score 2-6, 3-6!”
[Player Han Woo Jin from NK company has defeated Chompu from Thailand and reached the top eight! Everyone please make a round of applause for the two players for this great game!]
The applause filled the stadium and disappeared quickly. Han Woo Jin looked at the stands were there weren’t many viewers. Tennis wasn’t a popular sport in South Korea so there weren’t many spectators in the stands.
He could understand if this was a match in a future’s tournament but he didn’t expect so little people in a challenger level tournament. That’s why he thought that pro players would rather play in other countries.
The two players shook hands in the middle of the court and left. The familiar sounding system rang out in his head.
[Outstanding play! This is your second victory in a Challenger league and your skill experience will be increased.] [Correction! You already made achievements in a higher tournament league, so your rewards will be decreased.] [Your achievements/rewards will be calculated after the tournament ends.]
‘I didn’t level up anything today.’
It looked like he didn’t level up anything because he leveled up the day before. Han Woo Jin sat down next to Shin Sae Yeon who was waiting for him without any expression. She handed him a cold towel and water bottle.
“You worked hard. Looks like it’s been easy so far.”
“Hoo, yeah, but it’s still tiring.”
Han Woo Jin wiped the red spots on his neck due to the heat. Sweat was quickly dried because of the sun. Han Woo Jin got hot easily, even with the slightest increase in temperature. So in the couple hours of playing tennis outdoors, he got prickly red spots on his skin. (in korean this is called 땀띠 ddam ddi, it’s a heat rash or something idk never had it before) It wasn’t a serious problem, but the prickly feeling that it gave was annoying.
After he wiped his sweat with the cold towel, the itchiness subsided. After Han Woo Jin took a long drink of the cold water, he looked down at the court where the next match was about to begin.
But he was interrupted by Shin Sae Yeon before he started concentrating on the game.
“Woo Jin ssi, did you hear the news?”
“What news?” He asked curiously.
Han Woo Jin barely used the computer and didn’t read the newspaper. Therefore, he had no knowledge about recent news, unless someone told him. Shin Sae Yeon, knew this and spoke to him while looking at her phone.
“Yesterday at 1 PM, player Choi Yeon Hyuk won the finals in the Sapporo Open. Also, player Kim Hyung Tae held the record of winning a Challenger league tournament when he was only 23 years and ten months old. Do you know what I’m saying?”
“… There’s a new record.”
Han Woo Jin and Choi Yeon Hyuk were both born in the year 1984. They weren’t 23 yet, so he broke the record while he was a year younger than the broken record. Shin Sae Yeon looked at Han Woo Jin’s face and asked, “Aren’t you jealous? It’s a record that you could have broken.”
“I’m a little jealous.”
But Han Woo Jin just smiled as he answered. Even if he broke the record for being the youngest player for winning a Challenger tournament, in the future a 18 year old player name Lee Jung Hyun will break it anyway. With that memory, he just smiled.
A record is just a record. His goal was to reach a grand slam, so that’s what he needed to focus on. Choi Yeon Hyuk, also probably didn’t care about this new record. Han Woo Jin shrugged his shoulders and went back to looking at the court.
Shin Sae Yeon looked at his side with a strange expression. She didn’t speak to him again until the match was finished.
After the match ended, the sky was turning red. The second round had a total of eight games and it started at 10 AM and ended at 6 PM. The several break times made the day longer.
“We arrived.”
The car already arrived at the parking lot in front of the hotel. Han Woo Jin exited the car and spoke to Shin Sae Yeon. The sun was still up but the wind made it cool. He wanted to walk around the area a little bit.
“I’ll head back in after I walk around a bit. You can start eating without me if I’m not back by seven.”
“Yes, be careful on your work. Don’t forget you have a game tomorrow.”
As always, Shin Sae Yeon held the camera that held the games that were recorded and walked into the hotel. Han Woo Jin watched her walk and turned his body. As soon as he turned his head, he saw a person.
“It’s been a while.”
“… reporter Kim Sang Pil?”
The middle-aged reporter smiled behind the streetlamp as he extended his arm for a handshake. Han Woo Jin thoughtlessly shook his hand. Kim Sang Pil looked around and spoke to him with a quiet voice.
“Is that scary agent of yours around?”
“Should I call for her?”
Kim Sang Pil’s eyes widened in terror and frantically shook his head. Han Woo Jin was surprised by his reaction, seeing how terrified he looked.
“Why are you so scared of Sae Yeon? Did something happen?”
“Keheum, whenever I call to ask for an interview, I feel like I’m getting cut with knives. How is a young lady like her so coldhearted…”
He thought Kim Sang Pil had a bad experience with Sae Yeon and just spoke. The parking lot wasn’t a good place to talk so Han Woo Jin interrupted him.
“How about we move somewhere else? Have you eaten yet?”
“Ah, Keum, not yet.”
“Then let’s find a place to eat and talk. Ah, you didn’t come to interview me right?”
“I have no intention of that today. Why…?”
Kim Sang Pil had an awkward expression due to his question.
“Then we should bring Sae Yeon ssi as well. I cannot have an interview without my agent.”
“I won’t be doing that!”
Kim Sang Pil couldn’t help but promise that he wouldn’t interview him. Kim Sang Pil had plenty of experience but he couldn’t go against Shin Sae Yeon who was similar to his daughter’s age, and had such a cold exterior.  Also he really didn’t come with the intention for an interview today.
After walking for about ten minutes, they found a place. The restaurant wasn’t that well-decorated but it had a neat menu that fit Han Woo Jin’s tastes. After they ordered, Kim Sang Pil put his arms on the table to support his chin.
“You heard about player Choi Yeon Hyuk right?”
“If you’re talking about the Sapporro Open, then yes I’ve heard of it.”
Kim Sang Pil nodded and continued speaking. That article was something that his junior wrote. Kim Sang Pil thought that Han Woo Jin would be in a bad mood because Choi Yeon Hyuk broke the record for the youngest player to win a challenger league but Han Woo Jin had a calm expression.
With his years of experience, he knew that Han Woo Jin truly didn’t care about it. Either he didn’t care about those things or he was just naive. Kim Sang Pil just wanted to believe in the former.
“People have a lot of expectations from you. In Korea, tennis isn’t that popular, so many people are waiting for a star to arrive.”
“…They are?”
Han Woo Jin thought back to the empty seats in the Kim Chun Open. If he compared this tournament to the Metz Open, then it was like a firefly in front of the bright moon. However, will people play more tennis just because of one popular player?
However, Kim Sang Pil was different. He believed that at least the situation would change for the better.
“There are three players who the people are expectant of. You, player Choi Yeon Hyuk and can you guess who the last one is?”
“… Player Kim Hyung Tae.”
Currently ranked first in Korea and ranked 88th in the world. Kim Hyung Tae had the hopes of Korean tennis placed on him. If Choi Yeon Hyuk and himself didn’t exist, there would be no one talented enough to challenge Kim Hyung Tae.
Kim Sang Pil heard the news that two newbies and Kim Hyung Tae’s schedule overlapped. That’s why Kim Sang Pil came here to see Han Woo JIn.
“You and player Kim Hyung Tae will probably meet at the Seoul Open. I wanted to say something about that.”
“What did you want to say?…”
Kim Sang Pil continued speaking in front of Han Woo Jin’s curiosity. As he finished talking, Han Woo Jin looked down at the table with a serious face.
“Your food is here.”
It was a chicken steak and donkatsu. Kim Sang Pil said one more thing to Han Woo Jin who was holding a fork and knife.
“Personally, I will be rooting for you.”
It wasn’t a very comforting message from him.
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