Tennis star Kyrgios to fight for mental health reasons

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios will seek the dismissal of an assault charge on grounds of mental health,…

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios will seek the dismissal of an assault charge on mental health grounds, his lawyer told an Australian court on Tuesday.

Barrister Michael Kukulies-Smith appeared on behalf of Kyrgios in court in the tennis star’s hometown of Canberra and asked for an adjournment so that forensic mental health reports could be prepared.

Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until February 3, when Kyrgios’ lawyers are expected to seek the charge to be dismissed under a section of the Local Crimes Act.

The 27-year-old Australian tennis star will appear in court in person on this date for the first time since being charged by police by summons in July.

The law gives magistrates the power to dismiss a charge if they are satisfied that an accused is mentally retarded, and dealing with an allegation in this way would benefit the community and the accused.

The common assault charge, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, relates to an incident that occurred in January 2021 that was reported to local police last December.

The charge is believed to be related to an incident involving his former girlfriend.

Kukulies-Smith told the court his client’s mental health history since 2015 made the request appropriate, citing a number of public statements made by Kyrgios.

In February, Kyrgios opened up about his performance at the 2019 Australian Open, saying what seemed like a positive time in his life had been “one of my darkest times”.

“I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushing away my family and friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “I felt like I couldn’t talk or trust anyone. It was the result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones and just pushing myself little by little to be positive.

Kyrgios made other references to his mental health issues during his runs to the Wimbledon final and the US Open quarter-finals.

After ending Daniil Medvedev’s US Open title defense last month to reach the quarter-finals, Kyrgios expressed pride in getting out of “some really difficult situations, mentally” and “some really scary places” off the pitch.

Theakston asked if Kyrgios should appear in court for the February hearing, but Kukulies-Smith said his client wanted to attend.

Kyrgios was scheduled to play the Japan Open later on Tuesday against Taiwan’s Tseng Chun-hsin.

Speaking in Tokyo before his case went to court, Kyrgios said it was “not difficult at all” to focus on tennis despite the ongoing charge.

“There are so many things I can control and I take all the necessary steps and deal with it off the pitch,” he told reporters. “I can only do what I can and I’m here in Tokyo and I’m just trying to play good tennis and keep up the momentum and just try to do my job.”

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