A fan was kicked out of Monday’s U.S. Open tennis match in New York after German player Alexander Zverev accused the supporter of using a phrase linked to Adolf Hitler.
While serving against Jannik Sinner, the No. 6 seed in the men’s competition, Zverev, the No. 12 seed, suddenly walked to the umpire and pointed to a spectator standing behind him.
Zverev was heard stating in the ESPN-broadcast footage that the man just used the most iconic Hitler statement. He said that it couldn’t be tolerated.
The umpire, James Keothavong, asked the spectators who uttered the phrase.
During a break in the fourth set of the marathon match that started late Monday and ended early Tuesday, security approached the spectator and removed him from the facility.
After the match, Zverev told the AP that one of the fans started shouting Hitler’s old anthem. He felt it was excessive to proclaim “Deutschland über alles.”
In 1922, the Weimar Republic’s national anthem reportedly began with “Germany above all,” according to Deutsche Welle.
The Nazi government began abusing the lyric once Adolf Hitler came to power in the 1930s. This led to a ban on playing or singing the song in public spaces after WWII ended in 1945.
When former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer asked for the hymn to be performed again, just the third line was sung: “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit / Für das deutsche Vaterland,” which means “Unity and justice and freedom / for the German fatherland” in English.
Zverev added that being German and not proud of that history, that phrase is not a great thing to yell at him. Zverev said he feels it reflects poorly on him if he doesn’t respond.
The match lasted almost five hours, with Zverev losing the fourth set but winning the fifth to conclude it.
The reigning champion of the U.S. Open, Carlos Alcaraz, awaits him in the quarterfinals.