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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Nick Kyrgios aims to beat assault charge through mental health defence

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Sydney – Tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios will seek to have an assault charge against him dismissed on mental health grounds, Australian media reported Tuesday.

Kyrgios’s lawyer appeared for him at a hearing in the magistrates’ court of the Australian Capital Territory, where he faces a charge of common assault.

The 27-year-old Australian player, who was not required to appear for the largely administrative hearing, is in Tokyo to take part in the Japan Open.

His lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, sought an adjournment to allow time for a mental health assessment to be carried out, according to media including public broadcaster ABC and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Kukulies-Smith said his client’s mental health issues were well known and he would seek to have the charge dismissed at a later date, they reported.

The Wimbledon finalist wrote about his previous mental health struggles in an Instagram post earlier this year, and has said that he battles depression.

“I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone,” he wrote alongside a photo of himself from 2019.

“I’ve been through those times when it seemed as if those positive energetic vibes were never ever going to be reality.”

Do my job

The world number 20 is playing at his first tournament since losing in the quarter-finals of the US Open last month.

He said earlier on Monday he had been dealing with the case “for months” and was taking it “day by day”.

“There’s only so much I can control and I’m taking all the steps and dealing with that off the court,” Kyrgios, one of the most polarising figures in tennis, told reporters in Tokyo.

“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 — and that’s play tennis, play it well. That’s it.”

He is a heavy favourite to win his first-round match against Taiwan’s Tseng Chun-hsin, who is ranked 87 in the world.

Kyrgios shot to fame at Wimbledon in 2014 at age 19, beating Rafael Nadal on his way to the tournament’s quarter-finals.

Although he struggled to fulfil his early promise in the following years, Kyrgios has had a run of strong finishes in recent tournaments.

He won the Australian Open men’s doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis in January 2022, before losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic in July.

AFP

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