Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has avoided a conviction after pleading guilty to assaulting an ex-girlfriend.
Kyrgios admitted pushing Chiara Passari to the ground during a row in Canberra in January 2021.
His lawyer told a court in the Australian capital that it was an act of “stupidity” and “frustration”, while a psychologist said he had suffered severe depression, suicidal thoughts and insomnia in the past.
The magistrate didn’t record a conviction because the assault wasn’t premeditated and is at the lower end of seriousness for the charge.
Kyrgios, 27, was at the hearing on crutches following recent knee surgery.
He didn’t speak to reporters but later issued a statement apologising for his actions.
“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 took place and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I’ve found that getting help and working on myself has helped me to feel better and to be better.”
The court heard the assault happened as Kyrgios was trying to leave his ex-girlfriend’s Canberra flat during an argument.
Kyrgios ordered an Uber but Ms Passari stood in front of him and closed the car’s passenger door.
The driver wouldn’t leave with it open so Kyrgios pushed her shoulders with open palms, causing her to fall over and graze her knee.
Ms Passari signed a police statement about the assault 11 months later, after her relationship with the star was over.
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The player’s current girlfriend wrote a character reference for the court saying she had no concerns about violence in their relationship.
His psychologist, Sam Borenstein, told the court Kyrgios had in the past used drugs and alcohol after suffering major depressive episodes.
This had caused impulsive and reckless behaviour but his mental health has now “improved significantly”, the psychologist added.
Kyrgios’s lawyers previously failed in an attempt to get the charges dismissed on mental health grounds.
The player’s ‘bad boy’ image, outspoken comments and natural talent have made him one of tennis’s most talked-about stars.
He had a setback last month when he had to withdraw from the Australian Open because of his knee injury and is currently ranked 20th in the world.