These two sets have taken on legendary status, so let's get the facts straight. They were played at the Australian Open in 1998. Serena lost 6-1 and Venus lost 6-2. Braasch had dropped to 203 in the world because of an injury in 1997. He was described by Paul Fein in the book Tennis Confidential
(Washington D.C. 2002-pub. by Brassey's Inc), the original source for public knowledge of these encounters, as a smoker. At no time did Fein claim that he was smoking on-court, or on the changeovers or otherwise not going all-out. I know from personal observation that Pancho Gonzalez was a heavy smoker, and the Tennis
magazine profile of Marat Safin this year shows him smoking during an interview, so clearly tobacco use does not disqualify one from playing at a high level.
We've gone from the absurd idea circa the mid-70's that women could compete on the men's tour to the equally absurd idea voiced on these boards that a male 5.5 could beat the Williams sisters largely on the basis of these two sets. Should the 2004 US Open have been stopped after the first set because Hewitt was bagelled? Would that set have logically indicated that a male 5.5 could have beaten him?
Here's some more info on Braasch . http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/...yernumber=B305