Wimbledon 2022: Kyrgios gives cryptic response following domestic assault summons

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Australia's Nick Kyrgios is followed by media and fans after his practice at Wimbledon on Tuesday. He plays in Wednesday's quarter-finals.
Australia's Nick Kyrgios is followed by media and fans after his practice at Wimbledon on Tuesday. He plays in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

By James Toney at Wimbledon

If you want to make a PR person splutter into their macchiato you’ll inform them that all publicity is good publicity.

Tell that to Gerald Ratner, Richard Nixon or BP executives, after Deepwater Horizon pumped 210 million of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Nick Kyrgios quoted comms professionals' most hated cliche when clashing with media after his fourth-round win at Wimbledon, it’s a sentiment he may reflect differently on, following news he’d been summonsed to appear in an Australian court next month following an allegation of assault by his former girlfriend.

It all rather puts the £11,590 worth of fines Kyrgios has picked up for his on-court behaviour at Wimbledon into context.

"The nature of the allegation is serious, and Mr Kyrgios takes the allegation very seriously," Kyrgios's barrister Jason Moffett told the Canberra Times.

"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."

Later his legal team added the following clarification to initial reports he had been charged.

"At the present time, the allegations are not considered as fact by the Court and Mr Kyrgios is not considered charged with an offence until the First Appearance," said a statement from Johannessen Legal.

"While Mr Kyrgios is committed to addressing any and all allegations once clear, taking the matter seriously does not warrant any misreading of the process he is required to follow."

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios is set to appear in court in Australia next month in relation to an allegation of common assault.
Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios is set to appear in court in Australia next month in relation to an allegation of common assault.

Legal talk aside, it’s all a bit more substantiative to consider than whether the Australian broke the All England Club's strict dress code rules by wearing red trainers.

However, Kyrgios - who has never reached a Grand Slam semi-final - is still due to headline No1 Court on Wednesday for a last eight clash with Chile's Cristian Garin.

It'll be box office stuff - only for all the wrong reasons.

The ATP Tour's code of conduct states a player charged with a criminal offence 'may be deemed by virtue of such charge to have engaged in conduct contrary to the integrity (of the sport)'.

But time and time again the sport has stayed deafeningly silent on domestic abuse, the operative word in the above clause being 'may'.

In a statement, the Association of Tennis Professionals said: "The ATP is aware of the Australian case involving Nick Kyrgios but as legal proceedings are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

In 2020, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev was accused of mentally and physically abusing his former partner Olga Sharypova throughout their relationship.

Georgian player Nikoloz Basilashvili was arrested on a charge of domestic violence charge two years ago, a process still lurching through the courts in Tbilisi.

And then there's former US Open boy’s champion Thiago Seyboth Wild, who last year faced a Brazilian police investigation after his girlfriend alleged he had physically assaulted her.

All three - and Kyrgios - deny the allegations against them but it puts tennis officials in the most invidious position, caught between upholding the principle of innocent until proven guilty, while also protecting the integrity of their sport.

The ATP Tour commissioned a third party investigation into the allegations against Zverev, which were not subject to criminal proceedings. They finally contacted his former girlfriend, Sharypova, 17 months after she'd made her initial accusations. In addition their investigator had no previous experience investigating domestic violence.

No wonder the Tour's top official, Massimo Calvelli, admitted there were lessons to learn while top players, including Andy Murray and Milos Raonic, expressed disappointment with how it had been handled.

Sponsors will be watching what happens in the hours ahead with interest.

And it’s worth noting, Nike - who endorse Kyrgios - dropped the world’s most expensive footballer Neymar like a stone when he refused to cooperate with an investigation into sexual assault allegations against him.

Asked by journalists to comment on the allegations, as he walked off practice this morning, basketball fan Kyrgios would only say "I feel like I'm in The Last Dance", a reference to the Netflix documentary series about Michael Jordan's iconic Chicago Bulls - and their battle to win against all odds.

Kyrgios – it should be noted – is being followed around by cameras for his own documentary, produced by Netflix.

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