Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios pleaded guilty to assaulting a former girlfriend on Friday but avoided a conviction for what the magistrate called a “unique act of stupidity”.
Appearing in a court in Canberra, the Wimbledon finalist admitted to assaulting his then-girlfriend Chiara Passari on January 10, 2021, pushing her to the ground after a heated argument.
Kyrgios said he was “in the wrong place” at the time and “reacted to a difficult situation in a way that I deeply regret”.
“I know it wasn’t OK and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused,” he said in a statement.
Passari filed a complaint with the police 10 months after the incident, after the couple broke up, lawyers told the court.
In a statement read to the court, Passari said she had been severely traumatized by the incident, had suffered severe weight loss, had been in bed day and night – unable to sleep or knot new romantic relationships.
Kyrgios’ lawyers appealed to have the charge of one count of common assault dismissed on mental health grounds, arguing it was an isolated and irrelevant incident.
Psychologist Sam Borenstein told the court that Kyrgios suffered from recurrent major depression, which included dark periods, thoughts of self-harm, insomnia, restlessness and feelings of guilt.
Borenstein said the tennis star had relied on alcohol and drugs as a way to cope, but is now making progress in resolving the issues.
Magistrate Beth Campbell heard that appeal but ultimately dismissed the case without conviction.
Campbell said Kyrgios acted badly but the offense was neither planned nor premeditated and was a ‘one-time act of stupidity’ by a young man trying to get out of a tense situation .
The court heard Kyrgios pushed Passari, who prevented him from leaving his Canberra flat.
“I do not register a conviction against your name, I find no need to place you on bail,” Campbell said.
– Wasted talent? –
Kyrgios had appeared in court in Canberra with a pair of crutches and a knee brace, after suffering a “horrible” injury that sidelined him at the Australian Open last month.
He was flanked by his current girlfriend Costen Hatzi, an interior designer, and his mother Norlaila.
Canberra-born Kyrgios, known for his mercurial talent and outbursts on the pitch, later said that “sanity 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 his statement.
The case was adjourned in October, as Kyrgios prepared to play the Japan Open, so that experts could produce mental health reports for the court.
“There are so many things I can control and I take all the measures and deal with it off the pitch,” Kyrgios said from Tokyo at the time.
Currently ranked 20th in the world, Kyrgios was featured prominently in the first episode of Netflix’s new tennis documentary Break Point.
“I now plan to focus on recovering from injury and moving forward in the best way possible,” he said.
The fan favorite won the Australian Open men’s doubles crown with close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis last year but was kicked out of this year’s tournament before playing a match.
His manager Daniel Horsfall said he had recently undergone surgery to remove a cyst inside his knee.
“The operation went very well, to be honest we couldn’t have asked for a better result,” he told SEN radio.
“He may be recovering faster than we expected, so that’s good news.”
Kyrgios shot to fame at the age of 19 in 2014 when he shocked the tennis world by beating Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Often criticized for squandering his talents, Kyrgios reached the Wimbledon final last year but was largely beaten by Novak Djokovic.
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