Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has offered his support to Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka in the wake of her withdrawal from the French Open.
Osaka is one of the top tennis player in the world today, having won four Grand Slams. However, at this season’s French Open, she was fined $15,000 for failing to show up for a press conference. The tournament authorities threatened to expel her from it if she continued to do so.
On Monday, Osaka voluntarily withdrew from the French Open, stating that she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since her first Grand Slam title. Seeing her story on social media, Hamilton shared it on Twitter and backed his tennis compatriot.
Hamilton tweeted, “Mental health is not a joke, this is real and serious. This takes a lot of courage to do. Let’s all make sure Naomi knows she’s not alone. Today is a good day to check and ask your friends and loved ones how they are doing and let them know they are not alone.”
‘Mental health is important‘
Mental health has been a major talking point in sports for quite a while now. The struggles and concerns associated with it are real. In F1, McLaren have spearheaded the discussion, and Lando Norris has been the most vocal driver about this topic.
After Osaka’s withdrawal, the Grand Slams have issued a statement, pledging to incorporate changes that would help protect players and their mental health to a better degree.
The statement read, “While players’ well-being has always been a priority to the Grand Slams, our intention, together with the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, is to advance mental health and wellbeing through further actions.
“Together as a community, we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media. Change should come through the lens of maintaining a fair playing field, regardless of ranking or status. Sport requires rules and regulations to ensure that no player has an unfair advantage over another.
“We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements.”