Naomi Osaka’s Mental Health Breakdown at French Open Was ‘Inevitable’: Lewis Hamilton

Published 06/04/2021, 8:36 AM CDT
Formula One F1 – Formula One – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 3, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Francois Nel


Lewis Hamilton is an outspoken individual. The Briton often speaks his mind to the media, whether it’s about other drivers on the grid or global issues that need attention.

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Last Sunday, tennis player Naomi Osaka refused to appear in a press conference during the ongoing Roland Garros tournament.

While the match referee fined her $15,000, Osaka announced her withdrawal from the tournament the very next day, owing to personal mental health issues.

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At the press conference in Baku yesterday, Hamilton applauded Osaka for her bravery, while outlining why her situation was inevitable.

Lewis Hamilton: The spotlight weighs heavily on you

Hamilton knows what it’s like to be thrust into the spotlight at a young age. He made his F1 debut aged 22, winning the world title the very next year in 2008, aged 23. While he matured over the years, his stand against various global issues in recent times draws remained resolute.

While the title fight is fierce this season, Hamilton took the time to address Osaka’s actions earlier this week. At the press conference in Baku, the Briton mentioned how Osaka’s current situation was inevitable because of the spotlight on athletes today.

Formula One F1 – Formula One – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 3, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Francois Nel

He said“At such a young age, there is so much weight on her shoulders. It’s inevitable. The fact is, when you’re young, you’re thrown into the limelight, and into the spotlight. And it weighs heavily on you. And the thing is, probably most of us are not prepared.”

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Hamilton upset with officials for fining Osaka

While he lauded Osaka for her bravery, he also slammed the French Open officials’ treatment of the same. He believes her actions call those in power into question while being upset with their decision to fine the young Japanese star.

The Stevenage-born driver said, I think she’s incredibly brave and I applaud her for her bravery. Because I think it’s now asking those in power, putting them in question.

“And making them have to think about how they react because I think there the way they react was not good, with the fine.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“And someone talking about their personal mental health and then being fined for it, that was not cool.”

While mental health issues continue to affect many across the globe, Osaka’s step is a bold one. And with Hamilton praising such a big step, there’s hope for more people across the globe to handle such issues.

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Sanket Nair

143 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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