Nike suspends relationship with Maria Sharapova
Nike has suspended its relationship with Maria Sharapova, the company announced Monday.
Sharapova announced earlier Monday she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. She was informed by the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for Meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances on Jan. 1, 2016. Sharapova said she has legally been taking the drug for 10 years.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Sharapova’s failed test was conducted on Jan. 26 before being examined by a WADA accredited laboratory, which returned the positive for Meldonium. The ITF announced Sharapova will be provisionally suspended beginning on March 12.
German car company Porsche is suspending its relationship with Sharapova, too, while watchmaker Tag Heuer will not renew her contract, which expired on Dec. 31.
Sharapova has struggled with her share of injuries in the past year as she withdrew from last year's U.S. Open with a right leg injury. Most recently, she he dropped out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells due to a left forearm injury.
At 18, Sharapova topped the world with the No. 1 ranking by the Women's Tennis Association on August 22, 2005. Sharapova will turn 29 next month and is ranked No. 6 by the WTA.
“I know that with this, I face consequences,” Sharapova said. “I don't want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”