News & Politics

Germans Livid as U.S. Plays Nazi-Era Version of Germany's National Anthem at Tennis Event

U.S. fans cheer during Fed Cup play against Germany in Lahaina, Hawaii on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP)

Well, this is embarrassing.

The United States tennis team took on the Germans at a Fed Cup event in Hawaii. The Fed Cup is the premier international team competition in women’s tennis. So it was especially galling to the Germans that prior to the opening match, the host U.S. team played the wrong German national anthem.


German tennis has responded with outrage after the United States Tennis Association (USTA) made the embarrassing error of playing the Nazi-era version of Germany’s national anthem during a Fed Cup tie in Hawaii.

The version played included the first stanza, beginning “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles,” which was used as Nazi propaganda. It was dropped after World War Two.

“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup,” Germany’s Andrea Petkovic said, adding that she considered walking off court before the singles match against Alison Riske.

She later said her first comments had been somewhat emotional but that was because the incident happened before her game and she was left stunned.

“We were left shocked and did not know how to react,” Petkovic said.

German team coach Barbara Ritter said the mistake was “an absolute scandal, a disrespectful incident and inexcusable”.

German tennis federation chief Ulrich Klaus said his American counterpart had apologised for the mistake.

“Our American hosts at the Fed Cup opening in Hawaii made a mistake that should not happen,” Klaus said in a statement.

“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.”

It may be my imagination, but when the video below pans to the German team, they really don’t look that upset.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d think that the the U.S. might be trying a little bit of gamesmanship on the Germans — attempting to throw them off their game.

But as with everything, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Someone goofed. And what a goof it was.