It was quite a fast paced episode today, the first half was speeding by like a rocket, but the second half slowed down significantly and made the episode feel longer again. The fast pace was obviously a necessity to portray the speed and the feeling of the game, and it certainly did wound up anti-climatic for everyone when Isawa’s leg cramped up on him, making him unable to move. I totally get why Ei-Chan has mixed opinions about his victory which makes it a tough pill to swallow, but as the coach puts it (and well said at that): Takuya lost because he was playing safe for too long and Isawa lost because he wasn’t in physical condition to play such a long and difficult dragged out game. Ei-Chan won because he puts so much time and energy into practicing all shapes and forms of tennis, from techniques to physical and mental condition. But now he is up against the second seed Araya, who is tough opponent for someone who plays tennis for fun because Araya is aiming to go pro. I find from my own experience, when I first wanted to become a professional basketball player, winning, scoring the most points and improving my abilities and forms were my uttermost priorities so that I could play a stronger game. Sure I played for fun and I was insanely passionate about it (eg: basketball > school), but I also loved being able to play competitively against players who plays their games just as passionately and seriously as I did. Araya hasn’t been able to take down Takuma yet, so for him it that is his wall that he must get over if he wants to go succeed in going professional. Interestingly enough, when Ei-Chan asks both Natsu and Takuya why they wanted to go pro, they were both iffy about sharing their reasons. For some it has always been a dream, others because they were inspired and want to compete at that level, and others – want to do it because they love playing tennis that much, it’s a passion that they want to turn into career, and etc…
So for Ei-Chan to win his next match, he needs to have something at stake. Playing for fun and just wanting to make it past the new round to play more games will not be strong enough to compete against Araya’s dire to win and go further than that. However the promise Natsu had made to him (where if he wins his match against Araya, she will tell him why she wants to become a professional tennis player) might just be a strong enough motivation to compete with.
Interestingly enough, it sounds like Takuma will be helping Ei-Chan out with sharing Araya’s weakness so that he knows how to counter-attack and adjust accordingly by trying to play his own tennis style, rather than accommodating his opponent’s.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Isawa actually draw out what he was drawing on the court for Ei-Chan, but I was sadden to hear that he won’t be playing tennis as much as he used to as he plans to draw on a canvas more often now. Anyhow it was still a fun and interesting match to watch despite it’s sudden end.