Moldova anthem gaffe kicks off ATP Cup in Australia

Alexander Cozbinov had to listen to the wrong national anthem played before his match. (AP pic)

SYDNEY: Australian organisers for the new tennis team championship were left red-faced on Friday by playing the wrong national anthem for a player from Moldova, a small landlocked country in eastern Europe.

The embarrassing gaffe occurred ahead of the opening singles tie in Sydney of the ATP Cup between Moldova’s Alexander Cozbinov and Belgium’s Steve Darcis.

The Moldovan player lost the match.

“At the start of the Moldova vs Belgium match we mistakenly played the wrong national anthem for Moldova,” the ATP admitted.

“We are sincerely sorry and have apologised personally to Team Moldova.”

Tournament officials told AFP the Romanian anthem was played instead.

Moldova, bordered by Romania and Ukraine, was one of the last countries to qualify for the inaugural team event being played in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

They are spearheaded by world No 46 Radu Albot, who broke new ground in 2019 by becoming his country’s first ATP Tour title winner at Delray Beach.

He is joined by Cozbinov, ranked 818, Egor Matvievici and Dmitrii Baskov in a group that also features Britain, Belgium and Bulgaria.

The ATP Cup has 24 nations split into six groups across the three cities, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin to compete in a knockout phase in Sydney until one country is left standing.