3 February 2023

Nick Kyrgios escapes conviction over 'heat of the moment' assault of then-girlfriend Chiara Passari

| Claire Fenwicke
Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios approaching ACT Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 3 February. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra tennis star Nick Kyrgios has avoided a conviction after pleading guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend outside her Kingston apartment complex two years ago.

The 27-year-old arrived at the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (3 February) in a knee brace and on crutches following recent knee surgery.

Inside, the court heard Kyrgios and his then-partner Chiara Passari had a “loud verbal argument” on the street at 10:30 pm on 10 January 2021.

Kyrgios ordered an Uber to leave the area; however, when he sat in the front passenger seat, Ms Passari stood in the doorway, preventing the driver from pulling away.

The argument continued, with Kyrgios telling her to “leave me the f*** alone” and “just f***ing piss off”.

At one point, he placed his hands on Ms Passari’s hips and moved her from the door of the vehicle, but she moved back to stop the Uber from leaving yet again.

After telling her, “I’m serious, I’m going to …”, Kyrgios pushed her with “sufficient force” that Ms Passari fell onto the ground.

This is what formed the basis of the common assault charge.

Kyrgios then looked at her, saying, “seriously?” before getting into the Uber, which left the area.

Several people stopped to see if Ms Passari was okay.

Nick Kyrgios and former partner Chiara Passari.

Nick Kyrgios and former partner Chiara Passari. Photo: Instagram.

The pair met the next day to discuss the incident, during which Kyrgios apologised.

While Ms Passari first contacted police regarding the incident on 1 February 2021, she declined to make an official statement.

However, she again contacted police on 3 December to file a report after the pair had separated.

It was revealed on 6 July 2022 that Mr Kyrgios was facing a charge of common assault.

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In court on Friday, his lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith of Kamy Saeedi Law, attempted to have the charge dismissed on mental health grounds based on his history of depression.

However, upon the testimony of psychologist Dr Sam Borenstein, this avenue was abandoned.

Kyrgios then pleaded guilty to the charge.

In his sentencing submissions, Mr Kukulies-Smith argued no conviction should be recorded given Kyrgios’s charitable works and clean criminal record.

He also argued this was an isolated incident with no premeditation or evidence this was an ongoing feature of Kyrgios and Ms Passari’s relationship.

“There’s always a concern that what is seen in public is not consistent with behaviour behind closed doors,” Mr Kukulies-Smith said.

“However, in my submission, there is no such basis for concern in this case.

“It is a genuinely isolated incident.”

Mr Kukulies-Smith also argued against any further action by the court, such as a good behaviour order, given the length of time since the assault, the low level of objective seriousness, and Kyrgios’s remorse.

“[The push] was not an action to impose himself [on Ms Passari] to win an argument,” he said.

“He simply sought to remove himself from the argument.

“Attempts by my client to leave were persistently … agitated.”

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Magistrate Beth Campbell came to the decision no conviction be recorded nor any extra conditions be imposed by the court.

She explained this was a “very straightforward matter” that was at the lower end of offending.

Magistrate Campbell said Kyrgios had clearly “acted poorly in the heat of the moment”.

“You knew you were being triggered in some way and needed to leave the situation,” she said.

“But you pushed her. She fell over. It’s a very unfortunate situation.”

She explained to the courtroom she was dealing with Kyrgios “the same way I would with any other young man” and not just because of his name or tennis ability.

She also said imposing an extra action would just “make it look as though I was doing something” rather than having any value.

Magistrate Campbell gave Kyrgios some relationship advice as well, saying he should only be with someone if they “make you shine”.

“If they don’t, go,” she said.

“And that’s the advice I give everybody, not just Nicholas Kyrgios in my court.”

Outside of court, Kyrgios was asked what was next for him: “Just rest and get back on the court … [play] Mario Tennis.”

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