Court Dismisses Guilty Plea by Australian Tennis Star Nick Kyrgios in Assault Case


The guilty plea and dismissal stemmed from a confrontation Mr. Kyrgios had with his partner in 2021 when she tried to prevent him from leaving in a ride-hailing car.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios pleaded guilty on Friday to common assault during a court hearing in Canberra, the Australian capital and his hometown. But shortly after, the court dismissed the charge.

Mr. Kyrgios, 27, faced a maximum penalty of two years in prison for shoving his former romantic partner, but he argued for dismissal of the charge, citing his history of mental health issues. He withdrew that bid after the court heard evidence that he was not suffering a significant depressive illness.

His lawyer then called for the conviction to be dismissed on the grounds that Mr. Kyrgios would face a greater harm from it than an ordinary defendant. The magistrate agreed, effectively dismissing the charge and allowing Mr. Kyrgios to walk away without a conviction or a criminal record.

The seriousness of the matter was “low-level,” the magistrate, Beth Campbell, said, adding that she did not think the tennis star was likely to offend again.

The unexpected chain of events in the packed courtroom stemmed from an altercation in January 2021, in which Mr. Kyrgios was accused of having shoved Chiara Passari, his former partner, during a dispute when she tried to prevent him from leaving in an Uber.

The couple briefly split after the alleged incident, then reconciled. Ms. Passari, an Australian model, did not report the matter to the police until they had separated once again, in December 2021.


In a post on Instagram after the hearing, Mr. Kyrgios thanked the court for dismissing the charge, cited mental health difficulties at the time of the incident and thanked his friends, family and new partner, Costeen Hatzi.

“I was not in a good place when this happened, and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret,” he said. “I know I wasn’t OK, and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.”

“Mental health is tough,” he said, adding: “I now plan to focus on recovering from injury and moving forward in the best way possible.”

Common assault, the charge brought against Mr. Kyrgios, is the least serious assault charge in Australia, and indicates that the victim experienced immediate, unlawful violence, or the threat of it, though not bodily injury. Ms. Passari had reported shoulder pain and a grazed knee after the altercation.

Known for his outbursts on and off the court and for his mercurial, magnetic playing style, Mr. Kyrgios has become a kind of folk hero in his native Australia for pushing boundaries with his behavior. On Friday, he had arrived at court on crutches after recently undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Last month, he was awaiting a warm welcome on home turf at the Australian Open, the first major tennis tournament of the year. He withdrew a little more than 24 hours before his scheduled first-round match because of a knee injury, which resulted in the surgery.


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