The U.S. Tennis Association issued an apology to Germany for playing the Nazi-era version of the German national anthem before a Fed Cup match in Hawaii on Sunday.
German team coach Barbara Ritter said the mistake was “an absolute scandal, a disrespectful incident and inexcusable.”
She added that she was so upset she thought about going over and ripping the microphone away from the Maui opera singer, who performed the outdated “Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles in der Welt” version prior to the match between German Andrea Petkovic and American Alison Riske.
Petkovic, who lost the match 7-6 (12-10), 6-2, told reporters: “I have never felt so disrespected in my life, it was an absolute effrontery and insolence, of the very worst kind...We’re in 2017 — something like this should not happen in America. Jule Görges immediately began to howl when she heard the singer’s first words. And I also had tears in my eyes and was angry.”
The offensive first verse of the anthem translates to: “Germany, Germany, above all, above all in the world.’’ It was used as Nazi propaganda by Adolf Hitler, and banned after WWII. The “Deutshlandlied” anthem, which was written in 1841, is still the official anthem of the country, but the modern version starts with the third stanza.
Ulrich Klaus, the head of the German Tennis Federation, said: “Our American hosts at the Fed Cup opening in Hawaii made a mistake that should not happen. The fact that in the year 2017 a wrong anthem can be played that is associated with the horror of the past was for players and staff and the officials present both shocking and disturbing.”
The USTA issued an apology: “The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition. 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 the first round.”