Lewis Hamilton leaps to defence of Naomi Osaka after controversial French Open withdrawal
Naomi Osaka: Pundits discuss French Open withdrawal
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has come to the defence of world No 2 tennis player Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open after her refusal to take part in post-match interviews last week.
In a statement ahead of the tournament, Osaka announced she would not be speaking to the media during the French Open to protect her mental health, acknowledging she would be fined and saying she hoped it “will go towards a mental health charity”.
Subsequently Osaka was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for her decision by the French Open after winning her opening match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets on Sunday,
After threats she could face expulsion for her decisions, Osaka announced she would be withdrawing from Roland Garros.
Taking to her social media on Monday, Japan’s Osaka also said she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
Max Verstappen has Lewis Hamilton expectations for Baku
The seven-time world champion Hamilton, who has opened up recently about his own mental health struggles, posted on his social media in defence of Osaka, urging people to check in with their own loved ones who could be struggling.
“We are only human beings,” wrote Hamilton on his Instagram story.
“Mental health is not a joke, this is real and serious. This takes a lot of courage to do. Let’s all make sure Naomi knows she’s not alone.
“Today is a good day to check and ask your friends and loved ones how they are doing and let them know they are not alone.
“A simple text can go a long way.”
Serena Williams offers sympathy after Naomi Osaka’s French Open exit
Naomi Osaka sister explains reasons behind her French Open media snub
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen ‘soap opera’ has Toto Wolff excited
Hamilton wasn’t the first sportsperson to speak out, with 23-time Grand Slam-winning tennis legend Serena Williams empathising with Osaka, the American saying: “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi.
“I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions. We have different personalities, and people are different.”
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, British player Laura Robson explained what players face during their mandatory post match press conferences: “It can be really difficult and when you’ve come in after a loss and you’re already feeling bad about how you’ve played on court and then you’re reminded it in a question, it’s absolutely not easy so I totally understand why Osaka has had to withdraw for her mental wellbeing.”
Robson added: “At the moment we’re all just hoping that Osaka is OK, that she’s getting the help she needs and just taking her time for herself.”
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton said the withdrawal was “unfortunate” in a statement.
“We are sorry and sad for Naomi,” Moretton added. “We wish her the best and quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year.
“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ wellbeing and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our tournament, including with the media, like we have always strived to do.”
Source: Read Full Article