Lewis Hamilton criticises backlash against Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal

  • Osaka pulled out of French Open after threat of a ban
  • Hamilton: ‘Naomi is saying she is not well enough to do this’

Lewis Hamilton has delivered a scathing criticism of the backlash against Naomi Osaka after her withdrawal from the French Open. Hamilton, speaking before this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, praised her brave stance, condemned the organisers of the French Open for their treatment of the Japanese player after her decision not to speak to the press at the tournament and admitted that he too had struggled with the demands that come with competing on a global stage.

Osaka had stated she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first grand slam at the 2018 US Open and did not want to speak to the press at the French Open. She did not do so after her first-round win, was fined $15,000 and received a joint letter from the organisers of the four grand slams threatening her with a potential ban. A day later the 23-year-old withdrew from Roland Garros.

Related: ‘Courageous’: Japanese athletes and sponsors voice support for Naomi Osaka

Related: French Open’s response to Naomi Osaka is a shameful moment for tennis | Tumaini Carayol

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