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Kyrgios seeks assault dismissal due to mental health: reports

Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Yuichi YAMAZAKI/AFP

Tennis star 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.

Kyrgios beat Taiwan’s Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3, 6-1 in his opening match on Tuesday and then told reporters there was “only so much I can say about” the court case.

“I’m here in Japan playing tennis, I’m not back home at the moment so what will be will be with that,” he said.

“The next meeting will be on February 3 so that’s all that I can really say about it now.”

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.” 

‘Get it done’

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

He cruised past world number 87 Tseng in front of a Tokyo crowd that cheered his name and clamoured for the signed balls that he hit into the stands after the match.

“I had a match today and I thought I was able to get it done and just play some good tennis, and that’s my job, to move forward and continue to try and be better every day,” he said.

Kyrgios said 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.” 

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.

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