Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios on Friday pleaded guilty to assaulting an ex-girlfriend but avoided a conviction for what the magistrate called a “single act of stupidity”.
Appearing in a Canberra court, the Wimbledon finalist admitted to assaulting then girlfriend Chiara Passari on January 10, 2021, pushing her to the ground after a heated argument.
Kyrgios said he was “not in a good position” at the time and that he “reacted to a difficult situation in a way that I deeply regret”.
“I know it wasn’t right and I am sincerely sorry for the pain I have caused,” he said in a statement.
Passari filed a police complaint 10 months after the incident, after the couple broke up, lawyers told the court.
In a statement read to the court, Passari said she was severely traumatized by the accident, suffered severe weight loss, remained in bed day and night, unable to sleep or form new romantic relationships.
Kyrgios’ lawyers appealed to have the charge of a common assault count dismissed on the grounds of mental health, arguing it was an isolated and misplaced incident.
Psychologist Sam Borenstein told the court that Kyrgios suffered from recurring severe depression, which included black periods, thoughts of self-harm, insomnia, agitation and feelings of guilt.
Borenstein said the tennis star had relied on alcohol and drugs as a means of coping but was now making progress in coping with the problems.
Magistrate Beth Campbell heard the appeal but eventually dropped the case without a conviction.
Campbell said Kyrgios acted badly, but the offense was not planned or premeditated and was a “single act of stupidity” by a young man trying to get out of a tense situation.
The court was told Kyrgios pushed Passari, who was preventing him from leaving his Canberra flat.
“I do not register a conviction against your name, I find no need to put you on a good behavior bond,” Campbell said.
– Wasted talent? –
Kyrgios had limped into court in Canberra on crutches and a knee brace, after sustaining a “gruesome” injury that sidelined him at last month’s Australian Open.
He was joined by his current girlfriend Costeen Hatzi, an interior designer, and his mother Norlaila.
Canberra-born Kyrgios, known for his mercurial talent and outbursts on the pitch, later said that “mental health is tough”.
“Life can seem overwhelming. But I’ve found that getting help and working on myself has helped me feel better and be better,” reads her statement.
The case was adjourned in October as Kyrgios prepared to play at the Japan Open so experts could produce mental health reports for the court.
“There’s only so much I can control and I’m taking all the steps and dealing with it off the court,” Kyrgios said from Tokyo at the time.
Currently ranked #20 in the world, Kyrgios was featured prominently in the first episode of Netflix’s new tennis documentary Break Point.
“Now I’m going to focus on recovering from the injury and moving forward in the best way possible,” he said.
The fan favorite won last year’s Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside friend Thanasi Kokkinakis but was ruled out of this year’s tournament before playing a 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 asked for a better result,” she told radio station SEN.
“He may recover faster than we expected, so that’s good news.”
Kyrgios rose to fame aged 19 in 2014 when he shocked the tennis world by beating Rafael Nadal to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
Often criticized for squandering his talent, Kyrgios reached the Wimbledon final last year but was soundly beaten by Novak Djokovic.