Many people consider Song ‘Rookie‘ Eui-jin as one of the best mid laners in the World. Since his debut, some started calling him “Faker Junior”, and his career has been full of success, peaking in 2018, when the Korean player became World Champion with Invictus Gaming.
From that moment, Rookie and his team have been struggling in their regional league, the LPL. The level of the Chinese competition is always growing, and the playstyle keeps changing, so things go harder every year for the World Champion.
Nevertheless, Rookie has cleared in an interview with InvenGlobal how willing he is to win the greatest trophy again. This year, he and his team had to watch the World Championship from home since IG didn’t manage to qualify, so the interviewer asked him about his feelings about that.
For the mid laner, it was a mix of things: he was “heartbroken” about missing the tournament, but also “felt kind of relieved”. The explanation for this is that Rookie never felt that the team was fully prepared for fighting at Worlds this year.
Regarding the final result of this Worlds edition, where DAMWON Gaming has crowned themselves and brought back the Summoner’s Cup to Korea after two years of Chinese dominance, Rookie has admitted that, despite he cheers for the LPL now, he has always thought the LCK was a strong league: “It’s like an eternal rivalry. Even when we won Worlds 2018, we really struggled against KT Rolster“.
While watching the performances that the #1 and #2 LPL teams showed in the quarterfinals and semifinals, I thought that these teams aren’t ordinary. DAMWON Gaming showed what they were capable of and they seemed to be getting stronger with each game they played. I believe they were able to win the championship because of that
Then, Rookie talked about his “hard work”. The mid laner admitted that he has become the most veteran player of the team, which makes him feel that he should lead the team and work even harder, looking for improvement, avoiding mistakes, perfecting performance, adapting to both the changes in the game and the changes in the team’s roster… everything on his hand to help the team raise.
“Someone asked me about retirement once in an interview, asked me when I think I would retire. And my opinion is the same: I’ll retire when it feels that I’m dragging my teammates down. I haven’t felt that yet. This is the biggest determination that I have for myself, and I’m really doing my best, not giving up and working hard“.
After talking a little bit about his life in China, the Chinese fans, and how sad was it to play without them not being there due to COVID-19, the interviewer asked Rookie about his thoughts on pro gamers’ aging curve:
“Esports is a sport that is played with the hands and brain, rather than using the whole body like traditional sports. Although the brain can develop with the years, I feel that the hands slow down as we age. I haven’t found a way to change that through working hard yet. In traditional sports, if you can develop your muscles through continuous training, that can cover for it. Just look at Ronaldo or Messi: they’re still doing really well. I think that’s the difference“.
Rookie assured that he is doing his best to overcome the aging curve, and actually calmed his fans down by saying that he hasn’t had any kind of health problems, nor anything that could affect his career.
After an oversee of the new players of the scene, the actual rookies, and a brief thought about the best mid laners of the moment, they talked about the slump that 2019 was for the team, a problem that Rookie solved through harder work, which made him be the one to carry and captain IG.
I always think that. The reason I’m here is because I’m good. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without my teammates, but I’m recognized socially, in the game, and I’m compensated well with money because I’m also good enough individually. There are many fans that like me as well. So I always think that I have to repay them through my performance. I need to do my best like that until I can’t play well anymore. That’s what I’m obligated to do.
Later, Rookie assured that he is planning to stay with Invictus Gaming, that he has rejected other team’s offers, and he is happy where he is, to end the interview with a statement: his resolution for 2021 is to do well… so well that he even said:
“Oh, and it might sound arrogant, but I’ll be bringing the Summoner’s Cup back next year. It’s been a while since I’ve touched it last“.
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