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

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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 major 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 odd defendant. The magistrate agreed, effectively dismissing the charge and allowing Mr. Kyrgios to walk away with no conviction or a criminal record.

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

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

The couple briefly split after the alleged incident, then reconciled. Ms. Passari, an Australian model, didn’t report the matter to the police until they’d separated once more, in December 2021.

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

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

“Mental health is hard,” he said, adding: “I now plan to deal with recovering from injury and moving forward in one of the simplest ways possible.”

Common assault, the charge brought against Mr. Kyrgios, is the least serious assault charge in Australia, and indicates that the victim experienced immediate, illegal violence, or the specter 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 turn into a type of folk hero in his native Australia for pushing boundaries along 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 on the Australian Open, the primary major tennis tournament of the yr. He withdrew a bit greater than 24 hours before his scheduled first-round match due to a knee injury, which resulted within the surgery.

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