Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios pleaded guilty Friday and apologized for shoving former girlfriend Chiara Passari to the ground after a heated argument.
But the Wimbledon finalist’s conviction was dismissed because the offense was at the low end of seriousness for a common assault, was not premeditated and he did not have a criminal record.
The assault happened when Kyrgios’ tried to leave Passari during a dispute in January 2021 outside her apartment in Canberra.
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Kyrgios called an Uber, but Passari stood in the way of him closing the car door. The driver wouldn’t leave with the door open. At some point, Kyrgios pushed Passari’s shoulders, causing her to fall to the pavement and graze her knee, according facts of the case read 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 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.
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“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,” Kyrgios said in a statement issued through a management company.
Magistrate Beth Campbell described the shove as an act of “stupidity” and “frustration.” She also mentioned that Kyrgios’ fame did not help him escape a conviction.
“You’re a young man who happens to hit the tennis ball particularly well, and your name is widely recognized outside this courtroom,” Campbell told Kyrgrios. “I deal with you exactly the same way as any young man in this court,” Campbell said.
Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, testified that Kyrgios had suffered major depressive episodes around the time of the assault. He added that the tennis star’s mental health impacted his behavior.
He also recently suffered a knee injury and was using crutches.
“He’s doing very well,” Borenstein said. “His mental health has improved significantly.”
“Given the history, he is still vulnerable to recurrent episodes of depression depending on life circumstances,” Borenstein added.
Kyrgios’ attorneys tried 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 broken up.
In court, the magistrate asked Kyrgios if he could stand to enter a plea.
“Yep, no worries, your honor,” he said as he rose to plead guilty.
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Kyrgios withdrew from this year’s Australian Open due to the knee injury, which required arthroscopic surgery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.