Tennis star Nick Kyrgios is facing an assault charge in his native Australia over a December incident in which he grabbed his then-girlfriend.
Kyrgios’s lawyer, Jason Moffett, told the Canberra Times that his client was aware of the charge and that “it’s in the context of a domestic relationship.” The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.
“The nature of the allegation is serious, and Mr. Kyrgios takes the allegation very seriously,” Moffett said. “Given the matter is before the court … he doesn’t have a comment at this stage, but in the fullness of time we’ll issue a media release.”
In a statement released later Tuesday, Kyrgios’s legal team wrote that “the allegations are not considered as fact by the Court, and Mr. Kyrgios is not considered charged with an offence” until he appears in court.
In October, Kyrgios and his girlfriend reportedly had to be separated by police after getting into a verbal argument at an Australian quarantine hotel upon returning to the country. Police put them in separate rooms for the duration of their quarantine.
Kyrgios, who has had numerous on-court blowups over the years, has had a turbulent run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals. After his first-round win over Britain’s Paul Jubb, he acknowledged spitting in the direction of a fan he claimed had been “disrespecting” him.
“I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owed that person anything,” he added. “He literally came to the match to literally just not even support anyone, really. It was more just to stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s just how it is.”
In Saturday’s third round, Kyrgios and opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas received code violations during Kyrgios’s four-set victory, with Tsitsipas almost hitting a spectator with a ball slammed from the court and almost hitting Kyrgios with other balls sent in his direction. The Australian responded with an underhand serve and incessantly demanded that the chair umpire default Tsitsipas.
After the match, Tsitsipas said Kyrgios had “good traits in his character” but noted “a very evil side to him” and said: “He was probably a bully at school himself. I don’t like bullies.”
At Wimbledon in 2015, Kyrgios escaped punishment for tanking in his fourth-round loss to Richard Gasquet but was fined $7,500 after he slammed his racket into the ground during a third-round win over Milos Raonic and was fined another $2,000 for swearing during his loss to Gasquet. About a month later, the ATP fined Kyrgios around $13,000 for making unsportsmanlike comments toward opponent Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup.
The next year, the ATP suspended Kyrgios for eight weeks and fined him $32,000 after he tanked a match and berated spectators at the Shanghai Masters.
Kyrgios will face Cristian Garin in the Wimbledon quarterfinals Wednesday.