Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios pleads guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend and avoids conviction

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Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios pleaded guilty on Friday and apologized for pushing his ex-girlfriend Chiara Passari to the ground after a heated argument.

But the Wimbledon finalist’s conviction was thrown out because the offense was on the lower end of the severity of a common assault, was not premeditated and he had no criminal record.

The assault happened when Kyrgios tried to leave Passari during a dispute in January 2021 outside his apartment in Canberra.

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Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, left, and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shake hands after an exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia on January 13, 2023.
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Kyrgios called an Uber, but Passari got in his way by closing the car door. The driver would not leave with the door open. At some point, Kyrgios pushed Passari’s shoulders, causing him to fall to the pavement and brush his knee, according to the facts of the case read out in court.

«I respect today’s ruling and am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,» Kyrgios said. «I was not in a good place when this happened, and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way that I deeply regret. I know it was not right and I am sincerely sorry for the pain I caused.»

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«Mental health is hard. Life can seem overwhelming. But I’ve found that getting help and working on myself has helped me feel better and be better,» Kyrgios said in a statement issued through a management company.

Judge Beth Campbell described the shoving as an act of «stupidity» and «frustration». She also mentioned that Kyrgios’ fame did not help him escape conviction.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia speaks during a press conference at a practice session ahead of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia speaks during a press conference at a practice session ahead of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Kelly Defini/Getty Images)

«You are a young man who hits the tennis ball particularly well, and your name is widely recognized outside of this courtroom,» Campbell told Kyrgrios. «I deal with you in exactly the same way as any young man in this court,» Campbell said.

Kyrgios’s psychologist, Sam Borenstein, testified that Kyrgios had suffered major depressive episodes at the time of the assault. He added that the tennis star’s mental health affected his behavior.

He also recently suffered a knee injury and was on crutches.

«He’s doing very well,» Borenstein said. «His mental health has improved significantly.»

«Given his history, he is still vulnerable to recurrent episodes of depression depending on life circumstances,» Borenstein added.

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, on crutches, leaves magistrates court in Canberra February 3, 2023. Kyrgios pleaded guilty on Friday to pushing a girlfriend to the ground in January 2021.

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, on crutches, leaves magistrates court in Canberra February 3, 2023. Kyrgios pleaded guilty on Friday to pushing a girlfriend to the ground in January 2021.
(Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

Kyrgios’ lawyers sought to have the charge dismissed on mental health grounds. Passari signed a police statement alleging the assault 11 months later, after she and Kyrgios had parted ways.

In court, the magistrate asked Kyrgios if he could agree to plead guilty.

«Yes, don’t worry, your honor,» he said as he stood up to plead guilty.

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Kyrgios withdrew from this year’s Australian Open due to a knee injury, which required arthroscopic surgery.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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