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Nick Kyrgios to appear in court on assault charge in Australia

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Attention on Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, whose confrontations with opponents and officials at Wimbledon have kept his matches on stage over the past week, heightened Tuesday when news broke that police launched legal proceedings against him for assaulting an ex-girlfriend in December.

The accusations came on the eve of one of his biggest matches, a quarter-final showdown with Chile’s Cristian Garin who is favorite to win, and less than 24 hours after he survived a five-set challenge from American Brandon Nakashima. on Monday.

That match was largely uneventful by Kyrgios’ standards, mostly without the battles with the umpires, the racket smashing and even the spitting in the direction of the fans that often occurs when Kyrgios signs up for a tournament.

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After Monday’s 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 victory, Kyrgios talked about how good he felt, how he had reached a kind of balance in his life. after years of confusion. and how he has been able to enjoy moments on the tennis court in a way that he rarely has in the past.

“That’s probably the first time in my career that I wasn’t playing well, regardless of playing on Center Court at Wimbledon, with a packed crowd, I was able to 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, mentally strong.’”

Hours later, news broke in Australia that Kyrgios had been charged with a common assault charge related to an incident with a former girlfriend, Chiara Passari, according to The Canberra Times and a police statement. Kyrgios is scheduled to appear in court on August 2.

“While Mr. Kyrgios is committed to addressing any and all allegations once they are clear, taking the matter seriously does not guarantee any misunderstanding of the process that Mr. Kyrgios must follow,” said Pierre Johannessen, attorney of Kyrgios, in a statement on Tuesday. afternoon.

Kyrgios did not register for a practice court on Tuesday, unlike the other players who qualified for the quarterfinals, including his opponent, Garin.

On Instagram, where Kyrgios is active and has posted statements during previous controversies, he posted a photo of himself talking to a girl at a tennis tournament and added the caption, “This is why I play ❤️ for all my young people believe it.” In yourself.”

The charge against Kyrgios, who is accused of grabbing Passari during a dispute, carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The charge creates an awkward situation for Wimbledon, but also for the ATP, which organizes the men’s professional tour.

A spokesman 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 not in a position to offer comment. We are in contact with Nick’s team and he remains scheduled to play his quarter-final match tomorrow.”

The ATP has in the past waited for the legal process to unfold before sanctioning a player for off-court behaviour.

But he was pressured to take action after allegations surfaced that Alexander Zverev had attacked a former girlfriend twice in hotel rooms during tournaments, even though the woman had not filed charges with police and said she would not. . Zverev has denied the allegations.

The ATP, which did not comment on Kyrgios’ charge because, a spokesman said, the legal process is unresolved, announced last year that it was conducting an independent investigation into Zverev. The organization has not announced anything related to him, other than to say that he is continuing. Zverev continued to compete on tour until he injured his ankle in a French Open semifinal match last month against Rafael Nadal.

Tournament officials at Wimbledon have fined Kyrgios $14,000 for two offenses this year: $10,000 for spitting in the direction of a fan after his first-round win and a $4,000 fine for using obscenity in his third-round match. against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

He has also broken Wimbledon rules against wearing colored clothing by entering the court by wearing, though not playing, red sneakers and baseball caps that have been black or red.

“More attention for me,” she said Monday when asked about a possible penalty for the dress code violation. “What is that you say? Any publicity is good publicity, right?

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