England’s Wimbledon: When it was revealed on Tuesday that the police had started legal proceedings against the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios for assaulting a former girlfriend in December, the spotlight on him intensified even further. For the past week, his matches at Wimbledon have been must-see theater due to his confrontations with rivals and officials.
The claims came less than a day after he defeated American Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Monday, the eve of one of his most crucial matches, a quarterfinal matchup with Cristian Garn of Chile that he is fancied to win.
By Kyrgios’s standards, it match was relatively boring and lacked the arguments with the referees, racket smashing, and even the spitting at the crowd that frequently takes place when Kyrgios enters a tournament.
After winning 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2 on Monday, Kyrgios talked about how happy he felt, how he had found some sort of stability in his life after years of upheaval, and how he had been able to relish tennis matches in a manner he had not usually been able to.
“That’s probably the first time in my career where I wasn’t playing well, regardless of playing Centre Court Wimbledon, fully packed crowd, I was able to just say, ‘Wow, look how far I’ve 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 in a good performance mentally.’”
A few hours later, according to The Canberra Times and a police statement, Kyrgios was charged with one count of common assault stemming from an altercation with his ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passeri. On August 2, Kyrgios is expected in court.
Unlike his opponent, Garn, and the other players who have advanced to the quarterfinals, Kyrgios did not sign up for a practice court on Tuesday.
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Kyrgios shared a photo of himself conversing with a little child at a tennis event on Instagram, where he is active and has written remarks during prior incidents. He added the message, “This is why I play ❤️ to all my youngsters out there, believe in yourself.”
Kyrgios is accused of grabbing Passari during a fight. If found guilty, he could spend up to two years in prison.
The charge puts both Wimbledon and the ATP, which runs the men’s professional tour, in a tough spot.
A representative for the All England Club said Tuesday, “We’ve been told that Nick Kyrgios is in court in Australia, but since the case is still going on, we can’t say anything.” We are in touch with Nick’s team, and he is still set to play tomorrow in the quarterfinals.
In the past, when a player did something wrong off the court, the ATP would wait until the legal process was over before taking action.
But it was put under pressure to do something when it was said that Alexander Zverev had attacked a former girlfriend twice in hotel rooms during tournaments, even though the woman hadn’t gone to the police and said she wouldn’t. Zverev has said that the claims are false.
The ATP did not say anything about the Kyrgios charge because, according to a spokesman, the legal process is still going on. However, the ATP did say last year that it was investigating Zverev on its own. The organization hasn’t said anything about it besides that it’s still going on. Zverev kept playing on the tour until he hurt his ankle against Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the French Open last month.
Officials at Wimbledon fined Kyrgios $14,000 for two things he did wrong this year: spitting at a fan after his first-round win and using an obscenity during his third-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
He has also broken the rule that you can’t wear colored clothes at Wimbledon by walking onto the court in red sneakers and black or red baseball caps that he didn’t play in.
“More attention for me,” he said Monday when asked about a potential penalty for the dress code violation. “What’s that saying? Any publicity is good publicity, right?”