Tennis star wants assault charge dismissed on mental health grounds
OREANDA-NEWS Tennis player Nick Kyrgios will seek to have a January 2021 assault charge dismissed for reasons related to mental health, his lawyer detailed in an Australian court on Tuesday.
Michael Kukulies-Smith, representing Kyrgios in court in his hometown of Canberra, petitioned for an adjournment in the case to allow for a mental health report to be prepared on his client.
The request prompted magistrate Glenn Theakston to adjourn until February 3, at which point Kyrgios' lawyers are expected to ask to have the charges dismissed.
Kyrgios had been charged with common assault, reportedly stemming from a January 2021 incident with his former girlfriend which was subsequently reported to police. The charge comes with a maximum prison sentence of two years.
Detailing the request, Kukulies-Smith said that Kyrgios had a history of mental health episodes since 2015 and told the court of a number of unusual statements made by the tennis star in public since that time.
Kyrgios opened up on his struggles with mental health earlier this year, stating that his performance at the 2019 Australian Open was mired in “depressed and negative” thoughts.
“I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushed away family and friends,” he wrote on social media in February.
“I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone. This was a result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones and simply just push myself little by little to be positive.”
Kyrgios had also referenced his mental health issues during his run to the 2022 Wimbledon men's final, where he lost out to Novak Djokovic, as well as his efforts at this year's US Open, where he reached the quarterfinal stage.
After eliminating defending champion Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, Kyrgios spoke of his satisfaction at overcoming “some really tough situations, mentally”.
He also stated that his struggles had brought him to “some really scary places.”
Kukulies-Smith also told the court that Kyrgios wishes to attend the February hearing.
Kyrgios is currently in Tokyo where he is competing in the Japan Open. Shortly after the court hearing several thousand miles away, Kyrgios defeated Tseng Chun-hsin in straight sets to move to the round of 16.
Despite the legal issues, Kyrgios told reporters ahead of the match that he remains focused and said that his preparation was “not difficult at all,”
“There’s only so much I can control and I’m taking all the steps and dealing with that off the court,” he added.
“I can only do what I can and I’m here in Tokyo and just trying to play some good tennis, continue that momentum and just try to do my job.”