Frazier vs. Ali. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Johnson vs. Middleton? In what may or may not turn out to be one of the most highly anticipated ping-pong matches of all time, London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, has accepted Pippa Middleton’s sporting challenge.
Both have connections to royalty. The mayor is a descendant of King George II while Middleton is of course the younger sister to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. And the younger Middleton wrote of her desire to take on Johnson in a column for the latest edition of the Spectator magazine (which Johnson used to edit) out this Friday.
After the 29-year-old noted her most recent sporting exploits, including a 112-mile ski trek from Chamonix, France to Zermatt in Switzerland, she explained how she is now able to pursue “less demanding hobbies … such as ping-pong.” And then came the throwing down of the gauntlet.
“I’m informed that Boris Johnson, former editor of this magazine, wants to be ‘whiff-whaff’ world king even more than he wants to be prime minister. I’m also told the Johnsons are almost as competitive as the Middletons. So I’d like to lay down a challenge to the mayor … Bring it on, Boris.”
And yes, for the uninitiated, “whiff-whaff” is another term for ping-pong (more commonly known as table tennis in the U.K.) which Johnson famously used during the 2008 handover of the Olympic Games to London.
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Johnson accepted Middleton’s challenge on Twitter:
But when pressed further at an event at Ealing Studios on Thursday, he conceded that defeating the determined Middleton – who has claimed that she once competed at national level – might be a tough task. “I feel very nervous clearly because she seems to be very good. Well, she claims to be very good,” the Daily Telegraph reported the mayor saying.
The Spectator‘s current editor, Fraser Nelson, offered on Twitter to set up a ping-pong table “in the Spectator‘s garden.” There’s no word as of yet as to whether the match will be aired live on television or if Middleton’s royal sister and brother-in-law will come to cheer her on.