28 year old tennis player Maria Sharapova’s contracts with sportswear giants Nike and car manufacturer Porsche were suspended today due to her testing positive for banned substances at a drug test before the Australian Open.
Tag Heuer on the other hand, has completely cut ties with her.
Nike officials claimed that they were “saddened and surprised” at her admission that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open early this year.
Sharapova admitted that she had been consuming meldonium for 10 years, since 2006, but apparently on the advice of a family doctor.
Meldonium is an anti-ischemic drug manufactured by Grindeks, a Latvian based pharmaceutical company. Used in Eastern European and ex-Soviet countries for heart conditions, Meldonium also helps athletes in boosting their endurance. Despite never being approved by the FDA, the drug was only officially banned by WADA on January 2016, casting some doubts over Sharapova’s case.
However, Nike and Porsche are only “distancing” themselves until the situation gets clearer or resolved. Nike, who have had a healthy relationship with Sharapova since she was 11, had a heavy heart suspending their contract with the former world champion.
Sharapova remains one of the highest paid female athletes in the world, with earnings of over $30m last year from winnings and endorsements.