Maria Sharapova: Nike, Other Brands Distance Themselves After Drug Confession

They're gonna need some space. Nike and other brands announced on Monday, March 7, that they are suspending ties with tennis superstar Maria Sharapova after she admitted that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January.

"We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova," Nike said in a statement to USA Today. "We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation." Sharapova signed an eight-year deal with Nike worth $70 million in 2010.

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova leaves at the end of a press conference in Los Angeles on March 7, 2016.
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova leaves at the end of a press conference in Los Angeles on March 7, 2016. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Along with Nike, luxury watch brand Tag Heuer said it will not be renewing Sharapova's contract. 

"Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015," the Swiss company shared. "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." Porsche, like the other brands, said on Tuesday that it was distancing itself from Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova of Russia gestures during her fourth round match against Belinda Bencic of Switerland during day seven of the 2016 Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova of Russia gestures during her fourth-round match against Belinda Bencic of Switerland during day seven of the 2016 Australian Open. Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

During her presser in L.A. on Monday, the five-time Grand Slam champion revealed that she had tested positive for meldonium, a drug that was only recently added to the list of banned substances. Sharapova, 28, claimed that she was using the drug for health reasons, including a magnesium deficiency. The substance, however, is used by athletes to help with endurance, and the drug distributor told the Associated Press that the average cycle for use is six weeks. Sharapova used meldonium for 10 years.

"For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called Mildronate by my doctor, my family doctor, and a few days ago, after I received the ITF letter, I found out that it also has another name, meldonium, which I did not know," the Russian native told reporters on Monday. "I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game."

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