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.
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.
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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