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Anthem mishap shocks Andrea Petkovic at tournament

by Alyssa Daley-Executive Editor
Thu, Feb 16th 2017 12:45 pm
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 Over this past weekend the United States Tennis Association played the Nazi-era version of the German National Anthem during the Fed Cup Tournament in Hawaii. The opening verse of Germany's national anthem which translates in part to "Germany above all, above all in the world" has been connected very strongly with the Nazi-era and hasn't been a part of the anthem since it was originally banned immediately after World War II when it became linked with German expansionism, according to Britannica.com.

Although the USTA has apologized profusely, the organization has not released the cause of this major mistake. Unsurprisingly, members of the German Fed Cup team and German fans in the audience were shocked.

According to CNN's Andrea Petkovic, one of the German tennis players who competed in the tournament and whose match followed the horrifying resurgence of this purposefully forgotten version of her national anthem, was beyond upset.

"I thought it was the epitome of ignorance," Petkovic said. "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."

No matter how many times the USTA apologizes there is absolutely no way this could be forgiven right away or normalized in any way. The singer of the German national anthem was a local to the tournament's Hawaiian destination and a former Opera singer, according to CNN, but there is no way that he did not know what he was singing and even if that's his story which would be a very naive one. There is no way that this version of the anthem had been approved by someone of authority in the USTA.

It seems almost symbolic in a way that this should happen right as Donald Trump has almost been in office for a little less than a month and other like-minded political figures are coming to power in other areas of the world such as Geert Wilders whose extreme anti-Islam party is ahead in the Dutch polls.

These politicians coming into power with very ethnocentric ideas follow without a doubt in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler's original beliefs, that Germany was better than every other country on the planet.

It's terrifying how this has transitioned into the sports community not only through the controversy of the travel ban but also in a mistake such as the one USTA made.

The United States tennis player was also the one to win the match against Petkovic after the Nazi-era German anthem was sung. Even though I am an American and hope that we do well in all sports, if someone had played a song which reminded the entire world of our country's biggest faults, slavery for example, right before our athletes were expected to perform I'm sure they would be a little off their game as well. I'm sure there were more factors than just the anthem that contributed to U.S. tennis player Alison Riske's win and I understand that professional athletes train to be able to leave it all behind once they get on the court but this was a traumatic experience for athletes and spectators alike.

If I were Petkovic's coach I would have at least asked if there was a way to delay the match so that my athlete had a chance to recover from the added stress the organization put on her right before she was supposed to go out on the court and compete for her chance at advancing to the semifinals.

It's hard to believe the world we live in today is one where athletes have to speak out against travel bans that create conflict when professional teams have to travel internationally for competitions, where athletes have to be subjected to discrimination due to gender and race and a world where a man whose ideals were to wipe out an entire demographic of people is resurrected on a tennis court.


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