| Spanish secretary of sport Juan Antonio Gomez Angulo tries to calm down the players in Melbourne on Friday. (Reuters)
Melbourne: Spain’s Davis Cup team were told not to begin the final against Australia on Friday until an apology had been issued after the wrong anthem was played at the opening ceremony, the country’s secretary of sport said.
Juan Antonio-Angulo, who was watching the ceremony from the stands, left the stadium in protest after the wrong tune was played and said he had instructed the players not to begin the match until an apology was made.
“This reparation was done but the Spanish delegation is not quite satisfied and we have indicated to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), that prior to the commencement of the doubles match, the correct anthem be played,” he told a news conference attended by Spanish journalists.
“Furthermore, I will be asking the Spanish ambassador to approach the Australian government to inquire as to how this intolerable offence could happen at the inaugural ceremony of an important event as the Davis Cup,” a translated transcript of his interview said.
“We are demanding a formal apology through the Spanish embassy in Australia and an explanation to the Australian government, so that at a sports level the root of the problem can be corrected for this offence to the Spanish nation.”
Angulo said the players had not been affected by the incident but had been upset at the wrong anthem being played. “Naturally this upset them (and) ... the players were resolved not to continue playing if the reparation was not done.
“Apologies have been accepted in the first instance so as not to affect the process of the competition.”
Tennis Australia, which organised the final on behalf of the ITF, said in a statement they had apologised for the error and would play the correct anthem on Saturday when the Spanish flag was raised. “It is unfortunate the outstanding opening ceremony was marred by this regrettable occurrence and, as a mark of respect, Tennis Australia will be playing the Spanish and Australian anthems before play on Saturday and again on Sunday,” Tennis Australian president Geoff Pollard said. (Reuters)