Nazi-era German anthem at Fed Cup sparks outrage as USTA apologises

United States tennis’ governing body says sorry in statement while Petkovic labels mistake the ‘epitome of ignorance’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 6:53pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 7:00pm

The United States Tennis Association has issued an apology after a World War II-era version of the German national anthem was sung during the opening ceremony of a Fed Cup quarter-final.

The stanza of the anthem that was sung by a soloist – which includes the words “Germany, Germany above all else” – is associated with the Nazi era.

Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who was born in Bosnia, said she considered walking off the court as the anthem went on.

“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance,” Petkovic told a press conference after her 7-6 (10-7), 6-2 loss to Alison Riske.

“I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup, and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now and it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

The USTA quickly released an official statement after the incident.

“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the statement said.

“In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be performed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

Riske, whose victory gave the US a 1-0 lead with CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 3-1 up on Julia Goerges when rain halted play, also apologised in her press conference.

“As it was happening, obviously, we have no idea,” Riske said. “But news got around to us and it’s extremely unfortunate. We have nothing but respect for the German team and obviously that will not happen again.”