German players and coaches were left disgusted after a Nazi-era version of their national anthem was sung before a Fed Cup tie against the United States.
The German team – soundly beaten 4-0 in the Hawaii clash – slammed singer Will Kimble’s performance as “disrespectful” and “inexcusable”.
Kimble sung a version of the anthem that has been banned and includes the lyrics: “Germany, Germany, above all else.”
The phrase is strongly associated with Nazi Germany and, in the current version, says instead: “Unity and justice and freedom.”
German players tried to sing over Kimble but failed and afterwards they came out firing.
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“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance,” a furious Petkovic said.
“I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone Fed Cup.
“I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now and it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”
She added, as reported by the BBC: “It was an absolute outrage and affront – the lowest.”
Petkovic later said on Twitter that it was not the worst thing that had happened in her life, but she was still disappointed.
Germany’s coach, Barbara Ritter, was disgusted, saying it was “an absolute scandal, a disrespectful incident and inexcusable.”
The United States Tennis Association insisted it was an error in 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“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” it read.
“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.”
Germany Tennis Federation boss Ulrich Klaus said the apology had been received, but not necessarily accepted.
“Our American hosts at the Fed Cup opening in Hawaii made a mistake that should not happen,” he said.
“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, through its president Katrina Adams, has apologised officially in writing and in person and deeply regrets the blunder.”
Germany were thrashed in the tie, with Petkovic losing singles matches to Alison Riske and Coco Vandeweghe.
Vandeweghe also beat Julia Georges, while the doubles clash went the US’ way as well when Germany were forced to withdraw after Laura Siegemund suffered an injury.