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551 The Ultimate Favor



Noel, a famous American tennis player, lived in Los Angeles. He had previously made it into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.

Noel was currently ranked 25th in the world. According to the rules of the grand slam, the first 32 ranked players were seeded. So, in the upcoming U.S. Open, Noel was the 25th seed.

At the moment, a young Chinese man was training with Noel on the court. He was Noel's new training partner.

The Chinese youth was Zhen Chen.

Noel was also a client of Dai Li. Under Dai Li's introduction, Zhen Chen was given a chance to become Noel's training partner.

Training with a world-class player was a valuable opportunity. Zhen Chen valued this training. Even if he was only a training partner, he treated it extremely seriously.

For Zhen Chen, it was impossible for him to train with a player of Noel's standard in his regularly. Moreover, in the process of training with Noel, Noel or Noel's coach would give him a few reminders. These were tidbits were extra bonuses, as he wouldn't normally get them in his training.

Noel was very willing to give Zhen Chen a few pointers. Of course, Noel wanted his training partner to be stronger so his training session would go better. Besides, Zhen Chen's ranked just inside 200; it would be difficult for him to reach the main stage of grand slam tournaments, and Noel was a seeded player. Zhen Chen's ranking was not a threat to Noel so, even if Zhen Chen improved, he couldn't possibly become a threat to Noel. Noel didn't have to worry about being defeated by this disciple.

As training for the day came to an end, Dai Li appeared on the training ground.

"Coach Li, this fella that you introduced isn't bad. He's very hard working. The only thing is that he doesn't seem to be very talkative. He only spoke when I asked him something," Noel smiled as he welcomed Dai Li.

"Yeah, the kid is a bit of an introvert," Dai Li said. "Noel, I'm afraid he will no longer be your training partner anymore."

"Why? The kid isn't bad and, besides, there are only ten days left before the qualifiers. He can stay here for a few more days," Noel said.

"I found him a tennis coach. He's going there for a week of specialized training," Dai Li lowered his voice and said, "It's Coach Wiggins' private training camp."

"Coach Wiggins!" Noel exclaimed.

"Lower your voice. I don't want Zhen Chen to hear about this," Dai Li said.

"Oh heavens, Wiggins is the best tennis coach in the United States. His private training camp cost $20,000 a week!" Noel blurted.

"To be exact, it's $20,000 for five days. Coach Wiggins rests on the weekend," Dai Li shrugged in resignation.

"Coach Li, forgive me for being direct, but this expenditure isn't worth it. Sending Zhen Chen to Coach Wiggins' training camp is a waste. Even with Coach Wiggins' special training, it's impossible for him to get a decent result in the U.S. Open. Even if he made it into the main tournament, it would only be for one round," Noel said.


Dai Li knew what Noel said was true. If Zhen Chen were an athlete with S+ grade talent, giving him a week of specialized training might have produced a miracle, but Zhen Chen was only a B+ talent. Even if he were to receive the best training in the world, he only had the capability to barely make it into the main tournament. It wasn't possible for him to go that far into the tournament. He might not even make it through the first round.

"In terms of a return on investment, this is indeed a bad deal." Dai Li smiled and said, "However, if it can help realize the dream of two generations of people, then, to me, the fee is worth it."

...

In the middle of the night, after a day of exhausting training, Zhen Chen had fallen asleep. Jianguo Chen was, however, hiding in the toilet, whispering into the phone so he wouldn't startle his sleeping son.

"Don't worry, we're doing fine over here. Coach Li takes great care of us. No problem in terms of lodging or food. We have enough. The money I've brought is definitely enough. I'll be bringing our son to New York for the qualifier of the U.S. Open in two days. We've already booked the tickets. After the tournament ends, we'll return to China."

After wrapping up the conversation with his wife, Jianguo Chen called Zhongyi Xu.

"Old Xu, I'm really thankful to you. Coach Li found a coach for Zhen Chen, so he doesn't have to be Noel's training partner anymore. Yeah, a tennis coach, I've seen them. He is much better than me. That said, this is because you, Old Xu, have the right connections!"

After chatting with Zhongyi Xu for a while, Jianguo Chen looked at the time and realized it was the work day in China.

"Is this Director Huang? I'm Jianguo Chen, Zhen Chen's father. Yes, yes, also his coach. Zhen Chen and I are currently in the United States, we're preparing for the U.S. Open. Yes, thank you, leader. I'm calling because I have something that I need your help with. The U.S. Open is about to begin, and Zhen Chen is about to compete in the qualifier. Can you contact the media and inform them?

"Exactly, Director. The higher the exposure, the more chance of sponsorship. Since the reformation of tennis in our country, the livelihood of athletes has not been as stable as before. Constantly going overseas for competitions, the expenditure on the basic necessities are indeed quite high. If there is no sponsor, it is indeed quite difficult.

"Then I really have to thank Director Huang in advance. Yes, you are right, a blacksmith needs his own hardware. He's been training really hard. He just went to an American training camp today. The coach is Coach Wiggins, I heard he's quite famous in the U.S.

"Yes, in Los Angeles. That's right, the coach is named Brad Wiggins. Even you know him!

"Oh? You've been to the U.S. for reconnaissance before and you've visited Coach Wiggins' training camp? In that case, this Coach Wiggins really is quite famous. Even our National Tennis Management center went to him to learn.

"What did you say? The fee for Coach Wiggins' training camp is at least $20,000?"

Jianguo Chen froze.

...

The sound of the alarm woke Zhen Chen. Although he still wanted to sleep a little more, he knew he had to train at Wiggins', so he forced himself to get out of his bed.

Later, he saw his father seated on the sofa alone, staring out the window with a blank face.

"Dad, you're up early," Zhen Chen said. He noticed the bags under Jianguo Chen's eyes.

"Dad, did you sleep well? Insomnia? You didn't sleep the whole night?" Zhen Chen felt pain as he looked at his father.

Jianguo Chen slowly turned his head over. He let out a long sigh and told his son, "Son, once you're at Coach Wiggins' place, you better train seriously. Don't waste a second!"

Zhen Chen felt the weight of Jianguo Chen's words. It had been a while since his father used such a tone with him.

"Dad, is something wrong?" Zhen Chen asked.

Jianguo Chen shook his head, "We really owe Coach Li a big favor this time. This U.S. Open, if you don't make it into the main tournament, we really let Coach Li down!"

Zhen Chen nodded without fully comprehending everything. He didn't know that the cost of training at Wiggins' training camp was $20,000 for five days. One day cost $4,000.