On Tuesday, Russia’s tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev called Sharapova’s failed drug test “a load of nonsense” and said he expected she would still compete at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil this summer.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova”, a Nike statement read.
“In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations, and has decided not to renew the contract with Ms Sharapova”, TAG Heuer said in a statement.
She admitted she had been taking the supplement for 10 years to cope with number of ailments including Diabetes and was not aware it had become a prohibited substance on January 1. While Nike, one of Sharapova’s biggest sponsors has suspended all ties with the ace player in course of her investigation, we really hope the former tennis player is given another chance to pursue her sport!
“It is not the first time this year that Nike has distanced itself from a controversial athlete”.
But Sharapova has struggled with injuries throughout her career, repeatedly forcing her to take extended breaks from competition.
Sharapova won her first grand slam as a 17-year-old at Wimbledon in 2004 and has since landed the 2006 US Open title, the 2008 Australian Open and the French Open twice, in 2012 and 2014.
Sharapova provides anti-doping sample to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) at the 2016 Australian Open. “I received an email on December 22 from WADA about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items – and I didn’t click on that link”.
Sharapova is the most prominent tennis player to test positive for a banned substance in recent years. According to Forbes, her earnings from sponsorship deals was close to $23million a year ago itself. Her earnings of Â£26m last year made her the highest-earning female athlete for each of the past 11 years, and her total money earned off the court is estimated at around $200m.
Earlier today, Maria Sharapova said on Twitter that she’d be holding a press conference at 12 p.m. PST, but it was unknown what for.
The news came a day after Sharapova’s management team said she was going to make a “major announcement”, which had many speculating that she was going to announce her retirement from professional tennis. “Nevertheless, as Maria acknowledged, it is every player’s responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible”. “The WTA will support the decisions reached through this process”. While Sharapova may have been unaware of the change of status of Meldonium, she certainly knew what she was taking.
Sharapova said she took the test shortly before she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals on January 26.
That victory also made her the third-youngest Wimbledon champion, behind only Lottie Dod and Hingis, and the fourth-youngest grand slam victor in the open era after Hingis, Monica Seles and Tracy Austin.