It was a comprehensive 4-0 win for hosts USA in their Fed Cup World Group first round tie against Germany held over the weekend in Hawaii. This win propelled the Americans to the penultimate stage of the tournament for the first time in seven years. More importantly, it also helped offset the unintentional, albeit significant, gaffe that provided the tune-up to the tie.
During the on-court welcoming ceremony for both teams, the wrong German national anthem was sung, causing a huge furore among the team and the German fans at the venue.
The singer mistakenly sang Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles (Germany, Germany above all else), which used to be the German national anthem during the heydays of Nazism.
The lyrics form the first stanza of the song Deutschlandlied were penned by German poet August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben in the year 1841. However, since the unification of West and East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the third stanza of the song, Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Freedom) has been adopted by the country as its anthem.
As it became clear that the wrong anthem was being sung, both the German players and fans were seen trying to drown out the singer with the correct version, which intensified the chaos.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) was quick to issue an apology for the mishap.
While there was no ensuing bad blood between the players during the contest, Germany’s No 1, Andrea Petkovic, had some stringent words to say about the erroneous experience in her post-match press conference after losing to Alison Riske.
“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I never felt more disrespected in my whole life. I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now, and it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” she said.
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