‘I was thrown down the drain…we need to support more’: Lewis Hamilton wades into Naomi Osaka row and calls French Open organizers ‘not cool’ for fined her £10,500 for media boycott – and says he struggled with the same pressure
- Naomi Osaka was fined £10,500 by French Open chefs after her first round victory
- A joint Grand Slam letter then threatened the world number 2 with a tournament ban
- The Japanese star announced her withdrawal from Roland Garros a day later
- She cited reasons for depression and anxiety, and Lewis Hamilton supported her haar
Lewis Hamilton has targeted the organizers of the French Open for fining Naomi Osaka – claiming he was ‘thrown into the pits without any support or guidance’ when he started his Formula 1 career.
The 23-year-old Osaka was ordered by Roland Garros chiefs to pay £10,500 after she refused to speak to the media after her first-round win.
A joint letter from Grand Slam organizers then threatened the world No. 2 with a ban before Osaka pulled out of the Paris major, revealing she was struggling with depression and anxiety.
Lewis Hamilton (left) takes aim at French Open organizers for fining Naomi Osaka (right)
Osaka released a statement saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health issues as the reason behind her decision
“Naomi is an incredible athlete and a human being and her activism has had such an impact, but when you’re carrying so much weight on her shoulders at such a young age, it’s inevitable what happened,” said Hamilton, who wrote in a recent social media post that he is struggling with his mental health.
“She was incredibly brave and now it’s about asking those in power to think about how they’re responding because the way they responded with the fine was not right.
“Someone who talked about their personal sanity and then got fined for it was not cool.
“They certainly could have handled it better and I hope they dig deep into that and find a better way to deal with it in the future.”
A joint letter from Grand Slam organizers then threatened the world No. 2 with a ban
Osaka withdrew after saying she has struggled with her mental health since her US Open win in 2018
Hamilton, 36, who left a press conference on the eve of the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix due to unfair criticism in the media, posted a message in support of Osaka earlier this week.
The seven-time world champion, who is four points ahead of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, admitted he is also uncomfortable with the media.
Hamilton was a year younger than Osaka when he entered the global sports podium with McLaren in 2007.
“I learned the hard way and made a lot of mistakes,” he continued.
“Being in front of a camera can be daunting. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re introverted and struggling under that kind of pressure.
“When I was young, I was thrown into the pit and given no guidance or support. I was never prepared to be thrown in front of the camera or guided in what to look for and how to navigate through it.
“When young people come in, they run into the same thing and I don’t know if that’s the best thing for them. We need to support more, because you can’t be pressured.
“She felt uncomfortable with Naomi’s screenplay due to her own personal sanity and the backlash against her was ridiculous.
“People didn’t take into account that she’s human and she said, ‘I’m not good enough to do this right now.’ That needs to be looked at and how people react to it.’
Hamilton added that he was ‘thrown into the pits without any support or guidance’ when he started
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