‘Epitome of ignorance’: US Tennis Association use ‘Nazi anthem’ during German encounter (VIDEO)
The offensive first stanza has been banned in Germany since the end of the Second World War, but it was precisely those bars that were sung during the opening ceremony of the quarter final match on Saturday between the Alison Riske of the US and Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
Riske subsequently beat Petkovic, who described hearing the verse as the “epitome of ignorance" and that she had considered abandoning the game before it even started.
“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,” she said, stressing “It’s 2017 – something like this simply should not happen in the United States.”
Petkovic’s teammates and traveling fans attempted to drown out the outdated tune by singing the correct “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (Unity and justice and freedom) verse over the now frowned-upon Nazi version.
Germany’s coach, Barbara Ritter, was distraught saying: “This is an absolute scandal, a disrespectful incident and inexcusable, I could have sobbed. Hearing the national anthem at the Fed cup is a holy moment.”
The USTA has apologized for the gaffe, extending “its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem.”
“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,” it said in a statement.
German tennis federation chief Ulrich Klaus acknowledged the apology, but described the error as "both shocking and disturbing."
"The USTA through its president Katrina Adams has apologized officially in writing and in person and deeply regrets the blunder," Ulrich said in a statement.