WIMBLEDON, England — The spotlight on Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, whose clashes with opponents and Wimbledon officials have made his matches must-see over the past week, intensified on Tuesday when news emerged that police had started legal proceedings against him for assaulting a former girlfriend in December.
The charges landed on the eve of one of his most important matches, a quarter-final showdown with Chile’s Cristian Garín who he is favorite to win, and less than 24 hours after surviving a five-man challenge sets by American Brandon Nakashima on Monday.
This match was largely uneventful by Kyrgios’ standards, mostly lacking the fights with referees, racquet breakage and even the spitting at fans that often occurs when Kyrgios registers for a tournament.
After Monday’s 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 win, Kyrgios opened up about how good he felt, how he had achieved some kind of balance in his life after years of turbulence. and how he was able to enjoy moments on the tennis court like he rarely did in the past.
“It’s probably the first time in my career where I haven’t been playing well, despite playing Center Court Wimbledon, a packed crowd, I was able to just say, ‘Wow, look how far I’ve come. come, “to myself,” he said. “I was bouncing the ball before I served. I really just smiled to myself. I was like, ‘We’re here, we’re competing at Wimbledon, putting on a good performance mentally.’ »
Hours later, news broke in Australia that Kyrgios had been charged with one count of common assault related to an incident with ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passari, according to the Canberra Times and a police statement. . Kyrgios is due in court on August 2.
“Although Mr. Kyrgios undertakes to respond to all allegations once clear, taking the matter seriously does not justify any misinterpretation of the process that Mr. Kyrgios is required to follow,” Pierre Johannessen, attorney for the company, said on Tuesday. Kyrgios. evening.
Kyrgios did not register at a training ground on Tuesday, unlike the other players who qualified for the quarter-finals, including his opponent, Garín.
On Instagram, where Kyrgios is active and has issued statements during previous controversies, he posted a photo of himself talking with a young girl at a tennis tournament and added the caption: ‘It’ that’s why I play ❤️ to all my young people out there, believe in you.”
The charge against Kyrgios – he is accused of grabbing Passari during an argument – carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
The accusation creates a delicate situation for Wimbledon, but also for the ATP, which organizes the men’s professional circuit.
A spokesperson for the All England Club said on Tuesday: “We have been made aware of legal proceedings involving Nick Kyrgios in Australia, and as they are ongoing we are unable to comment. We are in contact with the Nick’s team and he remains scheduled to play his quarter-final match tomorrow.
In the past, the ATP has waited for legal proceedings to unfold before penalizing a player for his behavior off the pitch.
But he came under pressure to act after allegations surfaced that Alexander Zverev had twice attacked a former girlfriend in hotel rooms during tournaments, even though the woman had not complained to the police and said she would not. Zverev denied the allegations.
The ATP, which has not commented on Kyrgios’ accusation because a spokesperson said the legal proceedings are unresolved, announced last year that it was conducting an independent investigation into Zverev. The organization has not announced anything about it other than to say that it is continuing. Zverev continued to compete on the circuit until he injured his ankle in a semi-final match at Roland Garros last month against Rafael Nadal.
Wimbledon tournament officials fined Kyrgios $14,000 for two offenses this year: $10,000 after spitting at a fan after his first-round win and $4,000 for using an obscenity in his third-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
He also broke Wimbledon rules prohibiting having colored clothing by entering the court wearing – but not playing – red sneakers and baseball caps that were black or red.
“More attention for me,” he said on Monday when asked about a possible penalty for violating the dress code. ” What does it mean ? All publicity is good publicity, right? »