Nick Kyrgios pleads guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend

CANBERRA, Australia — Nick Kyrgios had suffered from severe depression, suicidal ideation and insomnia in the past, a psychologist said in court on Friday when the Australian tennis star pleaded guilty to pushing a former girlfriend into the ground two years ago.

The 2022 Wimbledon finalist pleaded guilty in the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates’ Court to assaulting Chiara Passari during an argument in her hometown of Canberra in January 2021.

Magistrate Jane Campbell did not register a conviction against Kyrgios for reasons such as the offense was at the lowest level of simple assault and was not premeditated.

Campbell described it as an act of “stupidity” and “frustration”.

Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, said in a written report and telephone testimony that Kyrgios had suffered from major depressive episodes in the past and had used alcohol and drugs to cope. Kyrgios’ sanity led to impulsive and reckless behavior.

His recent knee injury had led to mild to moderate symptoms of depression, but his mental health was improving, Borenstein said.

“He’s doing great,” Borenstein said. “His mental health has improved dramatically.

Kyrgios’ lawyers had sought to have an assault charge stemming from events two years ago dismissed on mental health grounds, but the request was unsuccessful.

Kyrgios had tried to leave Passari during an argument at 10 p.m. on January 10, 2021, outside his flat in the inner Canberra suburb of Kingston. He called an Uber but Passari stopped him from closing the front passenger side door. The driver did not leave with the door open.

Kyrgios eventually pushed Passari’s shoulders back with open palms, knocking her to the pavement and brushing her knee, according to agreed facts read in court.

Passari signed a police statement alleging the assault 11 months later, after her relationship with Kyrgios ended.

Hey current partner, Costeen Hatzi, wrote in a character reference that she has no concerns about abuse in her relationship. Hatzi was among Kyrgios’ supporters who sat behind him in court.

Kyrgios entered the pitch in a dark suit and on crutches after knee surgery.

He spoke for the first time in court when the magistrate asked him if he could rise to enter a plea.

Kyrgios replied, “Yes, no worries, Your Honor,” as he stood to plead guilty.

He made no comment to the media as he left the court.

In February last year, Kyrgios opened up about his performance at the 2019 Australian Open, saying what seemed like a positive time in his life had been “one of my darkest times”.

“I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushing away my family and friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “I felt like I couldn’t talk or trust anyone. It was the result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones and just pushing myself little by little to be positive.

Kyrgios made other references to his mental health issues during his runs to the Wimbledon final and the US Open quarter-finals.

After ending Daniil Medvedev’s US Open title defense in September last year to reach the quarter-finals, Kyrgios expressed pride in getting out of “some really difficult situations, mentally”. and “some really scary places” off the pitch.

Kyrgios, 27, suffered a career setback last month when he withdrew from the Australian Open with a left knee injury that required arthroscopy.

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