25 years later: the hero who defied the legends

In 1998, Venus and Serena Williams declared that they would also be competitive on the men's Tour: Karsten Braasch welcomed this provocation and challenged them

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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25 years later: the hero who defied the legends

In 1998, Venus and Serena Williams declared that they would also be competitive on the men's Tour, asserting that they could defeat any male tennis player positioned above the 200th position of the ATP world rankings. Karsten Braasch welcomed this provocation and challenged them in two singles matches lasting only one set.

The German, who at the time held position number 203 in the ATP rankings, defeated the two US tennis legends with the scores of 6-2 and 6-1, respectively, despite drinking a few beers before the match and being seen smoking a cigarette.

Who was Karsten Braasch

Karsten is a former German tennis player, who obtained his best singles ranking on June 13, 1994, with the 38th position, while in the doubles he became the 36th in the ATP ranking on November 10, 1997.

During his career, in singles, he managed to win four tournaments on the Challenger circuit and to reach the final of the Ordina Open, a tournament held in Rosmalen in 1994, where he was overtaken by the Dutchman Richard Krajicek in two sets with the score of 3-6, 4-6.

The best results came from doubles, a specialty in which he managed to win six tournaments on the ATP circuit, fifteen on the Challenger circuit and reach the final of the ATP tournaments on three other occasions in the same year, 1997.

He was part of the German team of Davis Cup in 1994 on only two occasions, reporting one victory and one defeat always in doubles. Braasch began playing tennis at the age of 6. He is also a fan of the NBA and his favorite team is the Charlotte Hornets.

He also makes fun of his unorthodox serve motion stating: "When I see my serve on TV, I have to laugh at myself. As long as it is effective, I don't have to change anything." He was also elected onto the ATP players council in 1995 and 1996

The challenge with the Williams sisters

Braasch was described by one journalist as a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager.

He nonetheless defeated both sisters, playing a single set against each, beating Serena 6–1 and Venus 6–2. Braasch was 30 years old at the time, while Venus and Serena were 17 and 16, respectively. In 2017, Serena revealed: "I don't remember anything from that match anymore.

I don't know what would happen today if I challenged the No. 200 in the men's world. Now I'm very focused on women's tennis, I just have to focus on that."

Serena Williams
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