Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton praised Naomi Osaka’s “Courage” for stepping out of the French Open after media engagement and criticized how Roland Garros handled the issue. The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner left the tournament on Monday after being fined and threatened with disqualification for refusing to comply with mandatory media commitments, saying they were detrimental to his mental health.
Hamilton had sympathy for Osaka, comparing him to what he felt as a raw start to his career.
“The fact is that when you’re young you get thrown into the spotlight and it weighs a lot and most of us aren’t ready,” the Mercedes driver said on Thursday.
“When I got into F1, the team had PR (but) they were never ready to throw me in front of a camera, I was never guided by what I needed to look at and I helped navigate that.
“You learn through mistakes and it’s very worrying, especially when you have all the good intentions but people take advantage of them.”
Before this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton spoke in Baku: “I think it’s incredible and I applaud his courage, how they ask those in power now … because they think how they reacted I think they reacted it wasn’t good.
“Having someone talk about their personal mental health and then receive a fine was no mean feat.
“I think they could definitely fit in better and I hope they make a deep dive and find a better way to navigate in the future.”
As an athlete he said “we are pushing ourselves to the limit, we are on the edge and we are human beings”.
He won an Oscar in the world of sports.
“Naomi didn’t feel comfortable doing anything for her personal health and the reaction is ridiculous.
“People don’t consider me a human being and I’m saying I’m not doing well right now.
“I think that needs to be really explored and how people should react to it, instead of being supportive and engaging with it.”
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