Sponsors suspend Sharapova ties

Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche have all suspended ties with Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova after her announcement of a failed drug test on Monday.

The five-time Grand Slam winner confirmed that she tested positive for Meldonium after a drug test was done after her quarter-final loss to Serena Williams at the Australian Open in January.

Even though Meldonium is generally used for people with chronic heart failure in Eastern European countries, it benefits healthy athletes by increasing their endurance and performance by increasing oxygen uptake to give an advantage over non-users.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) added Meldonium to their list of banned substances on January 1.

Sharapova did say in a statement that she did not realise the substance was illegal but took “full responsibility” for her actions.

The 28-year-old, who has been sponsored by Nike since the age of 11, has had her deal with the sports apparel giants suspended.

A Nike statement read: “We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova.

“We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.

“We will continue to monitor the situation.”

German sports car manufacturer Porsche said in a statement: “We are saddened by the recent news announced by Maria Sharapova. Until further details are released and we can analyze the situation, we have chosen to postpone planned activities.”

A statement from Tag Heuer read: “Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015. We had been in talks to extend our collaboration.

“In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations, and has decided not to renew the contract with Ms Sharapova.”

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