Nazi-era German anthem before Fed Cup tie creates controversy

Nazi-era German anthem before Fed Cup tie creates controversy

United States Tennis Association has apologised after version of the German anthem associated with the Nazi era was sung by the soloist.

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Alison Riske stated that something like this will not happen again. (Source: AP)

Even before the first ball was hit in a high-octane Fed Cup quarterfinal between USA and Germany in Hawaii, there was controversy and plenty of embarrassing faces. During the opening ceremony, an outdated stanza of the German national anthem was sung which didn’t go down well with Andrea Petkovic and needed an official statement of apology from the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The soloist at the Fed Cup sang the obsolete first verse, including the words “Germany, Germany above all else” which are not part of the current anthem.

The song was the official German anthem under the democratic Weimar Republic in the 1920s. But first two verse were removed after World War Two, and the Federal Republic adopted only the third verse beginning with “Unity and justice and freedom”.

Petkovic, born in Bosnia, said in the German-speaking portion of her press conference that she considered walking out as the anthem went on. “I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and 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,” Petkovic is quoted to have been saying by Associated Press said after her loss to Alison Riske.

USTA was quick in issuing an apology in the form of an official statement. “The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the statement said.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 perfrormed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

Riske, too, was apologetic 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.”