Genius 001: Ryoma Echizen is the 1st chapter of The Prince of Tennis. It introduces the series' main character, Ryoma Echizen, whose name is referenced in the chapter title.
Ryūzaki Sakuno, a 12 year old girl, is being troubled by a high school student, Sasabe, who was explaining (wrongly) about the Western Grip, which Ryoma intervenes and corrects him. After the incident, Sakuno accidentally gives Ryoma the wrong directions to Kakinokizawa Garden Tennis Club, causing him to be disqualified. Sakuno, with her grandmother Ryūzaki Sumire, goes to the Tennis Club and Sakuno learns that her grandmother's former student's son is in the tournament. Sakuno runs off to finds Ryoma and apologizes, but Sasabe finds Ryoma in a split second and tries to make him feel scared, which in the end resulted in Sasabe being challenged by Ryoma.
Sasabe serves first, and he starts off with a 180 km/h Bullet Serve, which Ryoma simply observes and does not bother to return. Sasabe feels confident, but Ryoma returns the next serve easily and approached the net to finish the point with a smash ace. Ryoma quickly wins the first game, and starts off strong in the next game as well. Sumire appears and explains that Ryoma is the son of her former student, and Ryoma won the American Junior Championship match four times consecutively.
Sasabe's friends try to encourage him to go up to the net for an advantage, but Ryoma's deep shots keeps him at the baseline. However, Sasabe and his friends starts calling Ryoma's balls out (which, unfortunately, is legal since it's a self-judged game) and Sasabe gains an edge, but Ryoma manages to use a slice lob, which allowed the ball to drop in and not bounce much. The game's pace is now back to Ryoma, but Sasabe's dishonorable play continues with Sasabe throwing his racquet at Ryoma. He justifies that his 'grip slipped', to which Ryoma commented that his grip was weak and he had 'a lot more to work on'.
The game count is now 5-2, Echizen leads with his serve. Sasabe feels confident that Ryoma was shaken up, but is quickly proved wrong with Ryoma's serve, and was shown that Ryoma was able to use the Twist Serve, a high-level serve, and it hit Sasabe twice, and during match point, Sasabe tries to defend himself in fear, but Ryoma simply used a light serve, calling Sasabe a fool, and winning 6-2.
However, Sasabe won't let this slide, and challenges Ryoma to another match. Sumire simply tells him that he'll never win, but Ryoma accepts anyways. It is revealed then that Ryoma is not naturally a right-handed player (since he was playing with his right), but he was a southpaw, and he instantly aced his serve. The game is interrupted by a club judge, and everyone scatters.
Few days later, in Seishun Academy, Sakuno, a new 1st year with a friend named Tomoka, learns of a rumor that a skilled tennis player registered for their school, and Sakuno had started to play tennis. Meanwhile, Ryoma is taking a nap at a nearby tree.
- Kakinokizawa Garden Tennis Club
- Seishun Academy
- First confrontation between Echizen and Sasabe. Game 1: 6-2 (Echizen wins). Game 2 was interrupted.
Differences from the Anime
- In the anime, Sasabe runs away from Ryoma in fear, while in the manga, an adult comes by angrily to kick them off the courts for using it without permission.
- In the manga, Ryoma wins the first game 6-2, while in the anime, he wins 6-0.
End of Chapter Special
- Ryoma wakes up from his nap due to the school bell, realizing that he's late.