Tennis legend Serena Williams retired from professional tennis this month after falling in the US Open to Australian player Aijla Tomljanovic. Counting 23 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals among several other accomplishments, there’s no doubt that Williams exits her 27-year-long professional career as an icon of the sport.
That is unless you count the opinion of Derek Greenway. At first glance, there’s nothing about Greenway’s appearance or the way he carries himself that makes him notable. A 35-year-old IT worker, it appears as though he hasn’t lifted anything in 20 years. But there is one thing — when he plays his friends at ping pong — he usually wins.
Despite not having watched tennis since he lost his TV remote for an afternoon in 2007, Greenway made sure to make his stance on Williams’ career known. While other tennis stars and commentators are giving praise, the delicate-wristed man isn’t sold.
“Would we be giving her all of this attention if she wasn’t a Black woman? Get any guy from a high school junior varsity team and he’d beat her,” commented Greenway on a Facebook post.
At first glance, his comment was both racist and sexist. Still, he has the right — Greenway is very established around his basement ping pong table as the best player out of his five friends.
If any more evidence of Greenway’s skill is needed, one mustn’t do more than look at his wrists — sweatbands. People don’t wear sweatbands on their wrists unless they know a thing or two about a thing or two. Especially not red and blue ones. At least in his mind, when he approaches the table, he is representing the United States of America.
Whether one should take more stock in the opinion of professional tennis players and commentators or Greenway is up for debate. On one end, you have people who have studied the game for decades — sometimes their entire lives. On the other, you have a guy who stops to stretch before walking to his mailbox.
While Williams plans to spend more time with her family, Greenway continues to sharpen his skill with the goal of being the best ping pong player in town. If this happens, it can be reasonably assumed that Greenway will reverse his stance, as he will then inevitably see Williams as a peer.