US lead Germany after anthem blunder

After a banned verse of the German national anthem was sung during the opening ceremony, the United States took a 1-0 lead and was ahead in the other opening match before rain hit in their best-of-five Fed Cup quarter-final in Hawaii.

Alison Riske beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6 (10) 6-2, and CoCo Vandeweghe led Julia Goerges 6-3 3-1 when play was halted on Saturday.

The verse of the anthem that was sung dates to World War II-era Germany and brought a stern response from Petkovic, and an official statement of apology from the US Tennis Association.

Petkovic, who was born in Bosnia, said in the German-speaking portion of her press conference that she considered walking off the court as the anthem went on.

“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,” Petkovic said after her loss.

The USTA responded quickly with a 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“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the statement said.

“In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be perfrormed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

Riske was apologetic in her press conference.

“As it was happening, obviously, we have no idea,” Riske said.

“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.”

Following the completion of the suspended match on Sunday, the sides will play reverse singles and a doubles match.

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