Nick Kyrgios defends controversial role in BBC’s Wimbledon coverage

Nick Kyrgios has defended his role as a pundit on the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage this summer, after the broadcaster was criticised for hiring the controversial tennis player.

In 2022, Kyrgios pled guilty to pushing his then girlfriend Chiara Passari onto a pavement during an argument, causing her minor injuries.

The magistrate did not record a conviction against Kyrgios, describing the incident as an act of “stupidity” and “frustration” but one which was not premeditated. The magistrate also dismissed the offence on the basis that it was at the low end of seriousness for common assault.

His appointment by the BBC has drawn criticism, with Caroline Nokes, the Conservative MP and women and equalities committee chair, saying: “The BBC should hang its head in shame ... It’s a disgrace and shows the utter contempt our national broadcaster has towards women.

“Not content with consistently underpaying their own female staff and forcing out women once they hit a certain age, they now bring a man who admitted assaulting a woman on board for Wimbledon.”

The BBC defended its position, saying in a statement: “As a current and high profile player, Nick Kyrgios will provide insight and analysis of the action on the court from his experience in the game.

“We are in no way condoning his cited previous actions or behaviours, on and off the court, and he is employed to share his views on tennis only. He has provided similar services to other major sports broadcasters in recent months. The legal process he was involved in has concluded, is well documented, and he has spoken about it publicly.”

Nick Kyrgios, right, with John McEnroe at Wimbledon (Getty Images)
Nick Kyrgios, right, with John McEnroe at Wimbledon (Getty Images)

Speaking in an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Kyrgios insisted the incident had been “dealt with” and said he would enhance the BBC’s coverage.

“Those things they’re bringing up have all been sorted and dealt with,” Kyrgios told Morgan. “I’m in a beautiful relationship now with my [new] partner, and I’m in such a good stage in my life where me working with the BBC was a good opportunity for me.

“I know that articles are going to get written and these things are going to get said, and if it affects it negatively, it’s never my intent. But I just want to have a great time, I want to give them another aspect of someone they would never hire, which is cool. I think it’s going to be good for me to get in there and bring my side to the game. And ultimately it’s helping tennis. I just want tennis to grow.”

Kyrgios has developed a reputation for being the “bad boy” of men’s tennis after a number of controversial incidents during his career.

Asked whether people in the limelight who have committed misdemeanours deserve a second chance, Kyrgios replied: “Obviously it depends what the matter is. If it’s something that people can understand, you’ve gone through the full story and you can clearly see that person’s trying to make amends, trying to be a better person, then of course.”