Tennis star Kyrgios admits assaulting girlfriend, avoids conviction
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios pleaded guilty Friday to assaulting her ex-girlfriend but escaped conviction for what the judge called a “single act of stupidity.”
Appearing in a Canberra court, the Wimbledon finalist admitted to assaulting his then-girlfriend Chiara Passari on January 10, 2021, knocking her to the ground after a heated argument.
Kyrgios said that he was “not in the best place” at the time and that he “reacted to a difficult situation in a way that I deeply regret”.
“I know it wasn’t good and I’m truly sorry for hurting me,” he said in a statement.
Passari filed a police complaint 10 months after the incident that saw the couple break up, lawyers told the court.
In a statement read in court, Passari said she was severely traumatized by the incident, lost a lot of weight, stayed in bed day and night, and was unable to sleep or form new romantic relationships.
Lawyers for Kyrgios have asked for one count of ordinary assault to be dropped on mental health grounds, arguing that it was an isolated case and out of character.
Psychologist Sam Borenstein told the court that Kyrgios suffered from recurring major depression, which included menstruation, thoughts of harming himself, insomnia, agitation, and guilt.
Borenstein said the tennis star relied on alcohol and drugs to survive, but has now made progress on those issues.
Judge Beth Campbell heard this appeal but ultimately dismissed the case without conviction.
Campbell said that Kyrgios acted badly, but the crime was not planned or premeditated and was “an isolated act of stupidity” by a young man trying to get out of a tense situation.
The court was told that Kyrgios pushed Passari, who was preventing him from leaving her apartment in Canberra.
“I’m not filing a conviction against you, I don’t see the need to bind you with good behavior,” Campbell said.
– Squandered talents? –
Kyrgios hobbled to the court in Canberra with a pair of crutches and a knee brace after a ‘terrible’ injury that sidelined him at the Australian Open last month.
Next to him were his current girlfriend Costin Hatsi, an interior designer, and his mother Norlayla.
Known for his erratic talent and outbursts on the court, Canberra native Kyrgios later said that “mental health is tough.”
“Life can seem overwhelming. But I found that getting help and working on myself helped me feel better and become a better person,” he said in a statement.
The case was shelved in October as Kyrgios prepared to play in the Japan Open so experts could present mental health opinions to the court.
“I can control a lot of things, and I take all the steps and deal with it off the court,” Kyrgios from Tokyo said at the time.
Currently ranked 20th in the world, Kyrgios is featured prominently in the first episode of Netflix’s new tennis documentary Break Point.
“Now I plan to focus on injury recovery and move forward as best I can,” he said.
The fan favorite won the Australian Open men’s doubles crown with close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis last year but was eliminated from this year’s tournament before playing the match.
His manager Daniel Horsfall said he recently had surgery to remove a cyst inside his knee.
“The surgery went great, to be honest, we couldn’t have expected a better result,” he told radio station SEN.
“He may be recovering faster than we expected, so that’s good news.”
Kyrgios rose to fame in 2014, when he was 19, when he rocked the tennis world by beating Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Kyrgios, often criticized for squandering his talents, reached the final of last year’s Wimbledon but lost to Novak Djokovic.