Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines recalled Venus and Serena Williams' back-to-back defeats to then ATP World No. 203 Karsten Braasch while speaking against the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports.
On June 21, the US Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from advocates on the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans, with special focus on transgender youths.
During the hearing, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana posed a question to panel member and Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson, asking her whether biological male athletes have a physical advantage over biological female athletes.
Robinson asserted that biological male athletes always having a physical advantage over biological female athletes was not a "definitive statement."
When asked to provide an example, she cited an article on men who believed they could score a point against Serena Williams.
"I can say that there's been this news article about men that think they can beat Serena Williams in tennis. That they think that they could actually score a point on her and it's just not the case. She is stronger than them," she said.
Senator John Kennedy then called on Riley Gaines, a prominent advocate against the inclusion of transgender athletes in women sports, to provide her opinion.
Gaines argued against Kelley Robinson by referencing Serena and Venus Williams' defeat to then ATP World No. 203 Karsten Braasch.
"Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd ranked male tennis player, which, they are phenoms for women," Gaines said.
Robinson stood by her words, arguing that Senator Kennedy, for example, would lose if he was to take on the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
"What I'm trying to say is that there is not definitive advantage in all cases. Sir, I don't know if you think you could beat Serena Williams in tennis but I probably think that that's not the case. There are not all cases where all men are physically superior to all women," she said.
How the 'Battle of the Sexes' between Venus and Serena Williams and World No. 203 Karsten Braasch played out
Venus and Serena Williams took on then World No. 203 Karsten Braasch at the 1998 Australian Open, in an exhibition event named "The Battle of the Sexes."
The event came about after the Americans allegedly claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the top-200. Braasch volunteered to compete against them after overhearing the conversation.
Braasch took on Serena Williams first in a single-set contest. He raced to a 5-0 lead, allowing the former World No. 1 to only claim a single game before securing a 6-1 win. Venus Williams put on a better showing, even managing to break the German's serve. However, Braasch still managed to claim a 6-2 victory over the seven-time Grand Slam champion.