Lewis Hamilton criticises backlash against Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal


Lewis Hamilton has delivered a scathing criticism of the backlash in opposition to Naomi Osaka after her withdrawal from the French Open. Hamilton, talking earlier than this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, praised her courageous stance, condemned the organisers of the French Open for his or her remedy of the Japanese participant after her choice to not converse to the press on the match and admitted he too had struggled with the calls for that include competing on a world stage.

Osaka had acknowledged she had “suffered lengthy bouts of melancholy” since profitable her first grand slam title on the 2018 US Open and didn’t need to converse to the press on the French Open. She didn’t achieve this after her first-round win, was fined $15,000 and obtained a joint letter from the organisers of the 4 grand slam tournaments threatening her with a possible ban. A day later the 23-year-old withdrew from Roland Garros.

Hamilton had instantly supported her with a submit on Instagram. “Psychological well being isn’t a joke, that is actual and critical,” he wrote. “This takes plenty of braveness to do. Let’s all be certain that Naomi is aware of she’s not alone.”

Osaka attracted criticism for her stance and her withdrawal from the match. Hamilton was 22 when he started his F1 profession and condemned the damaging response to such a equally younger athlete.

“With Naomi’s situation, she didn’t really feel snug due to her personal private psychological well being, the backlash in opposition to her was ridiculous,” he mentioned. “Individuals weren’t making an allowance for that she is a human being. She was saying: ‘I’m not nicely sufficient to do that proper now.’”

In Baku the seven-time world champion was additionally blunt in his dismissal of how the tennis authorities had dealt with the scenario.

“Naomi is an unimaginable athlete and human being and her activism has been so impactful,” he mentioned. “However when you find yourself at such a younger age with a lot weight on her shoulders, it’s inevitable what occurred. She was extremely courageous and it’s now about asking questions of these in energy, making them take into consideration how they react as a result of the way in which they reacted with the tremendous was not good.

Lewis Hamilton has expertise, like Naomi Osaka, of sporting success at a younger age. {Photograph}: François Nel/AP

“Somebody speaking about their private psychological well being after which being fined for it was not cool. They might undoubtedly have dealt with it higher. I hope they take a deep dive into that and discover a higher strategy to navigate it in future. As athletes, we’re pushing ourselves to the restrict, we’re on the sting and we’re solely human beings.”

Hamilton has largely loved a constructive relationship with the media however in 2016 he did stroll out of a Mercedes press convention on the Japanese GP, sad with the media criticism he obtained for taking part in together with his telephone throughout a earlier media occasion.

Osaka’s choice has began a debate over the connection between athletes, the media and problems with psychological well being, one Hamilton welcomed as he empathised with Osaka, referring to the stress he had felt on making his debut in F1 in 2007.

“If you end up younger, you’re thrown into the limelight and the highlight, and it weighs closely on you. Most of us are usually not ready,” he mentioned. “I’ve discovered the arduous manner, and made many a mistake. It may be daunting in entrance of a digicam. It isn’t the best factor to do, significantly if you’re an introvert and also you battle underneath these sorts of pressures.

“Once I was younger, I used to be thrown into the pit and I used to be not given any steerage or help. I used to be by no means ready to be thrown in entrance of the digicam or guided as to what to look out for and tips on how to navigate by means of it.

“When children are coming in, they’re dealing with the identical factor and I don’t know whether or not that’s the finest for them.”

Hamilton goes into this weekend’s assembly trailing Crimson Bull’s Max Verstappen by 4 factors on the earth championship.

What Naomi Osaka's French Open withdrawal means for tennis – video explainer
What Naomi Osaka’s French Open withdrawal means for tennis – video explainer


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