Nike 'will continue to partner' with Sharapova despite ban

NEW YORK (AP) Nike says it ''will continue to partner'' with Maria Sharapova, despite her two-year suspension for failing a drug test.

The sportswear giant said in a statement Wednesday: ''We hope to see Maria back on court.''

Sharapova was punished by a three-person Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation, which concluded she took meldonium ''for the purpose of enhancing her performance.'' She had been taking it since 2006.

Meldonium was banned as of Jan. 1. Sharapova tested positive at the Australian Open on Jan. 26, and said later she didn't know the substance was newly banned.

In March, when Sharapova announced she failed a drug test, Nike said it had ''decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues'' but that it would ''monitor the situation.''

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