The British pilot salutes the courage of the Japanese who withdrew from Roland-Garros after refusing to speak to the press. He finds it incorrect to amend an athlete who talks about his mental health.
Lewis Hamilton hailed Thursday the “courage” of Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from Roland Garros after refusing to participate in press conferences to protect herself mentally, “because he asks those in power to recover. question”.
“I think she is incredible and I applaud him for his courage because he asks those who have the power (editor’s note: Grand Slam tennis tournaments) to question themselves and rethink how they reacted, because fining someone who talks about their mental health is not correct, ”said the Formula 1 driver at a press conference ahead of the Azerbaijani Grand Prix in Baku from Friday to Sunday .
“I think they could have handled it better and I hope they will do a great introspection to find a way to do better in the future,” continued the seven-time world champion. “As athletes, we push ourselves to the limit, but we are human beings,” he insisted.
Threats from the organizers
Naomi Osaka announced last Wednesday on Twitter that she would not attend press conferences at Roland Garros to preserve her sanity.
On Sunday, after her victory in the first round, she did not appear in front of the media and was fined $ 15,000.
The organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open) threatened to exclude her from the Paris Major, or even the other three, if she persisted.
Monday evening, she announced on social networks to withdraw from the tournament where she should have played her second round on Wednesday.
“In the lion’s den”
“I think the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I step back so everyone can refocus on tennis,” she tweeted.
In her message, she explained that she had “gone through long periods of depression since the 2018 US Open”, the first of her four Grand Slam titles.
“When I was young, I myself was thrown into the lion’s den without any advice or support,” Hamilton, 36, recalled. I have noticed that it is the same for the young people who arrive today and I do not think it is the best for them. ”
“I think we need to support them more and that they should not be subject to pressure”, as in the case of Osaka, concluded the Briton.