The United States Tennis Association apologized for playing a stanza of the German national anthem that dated back to World War II Nazi Germany during the opening ceremonies of the Fed Cup, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
"The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today's [Saturday] Fed Cup competition," the USTA said in a statement. "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."
Bosnian-born player Andrea Petkovic, who grew up in Germany, was incensed.
"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," she said following a 7-6 (10), 6-2 loss to Alison Riske.
The United States is facing Germany in quarterfinal play and currently holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The male soloist who performed the anthem sang "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt," which in English translates to "Germany, Germany, above all, above all in the world," according to the Press Association (via the Guardian).
Although that stanza was sung prior to Nazi rule of Germany and traditionally had been the opening portion of the anthem, according to the Press Association, the words have since become synonymous with Adolf Hitler's reign. Only the third verse of "Deutschlandlied" is now sung as a part of the anthem.
"As it was happening, obviously, we have no idea," Riske told the Associated Press. "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."
The completion of the singles match between CoCo Vandeweghe and Julia Goerges—rain halted play with Vandeweghe ahead 6-3, 3-1—is up next between the countries.