Following Maria Sharapova’s press conference on Monday, March 7th 2016, where she admitted to failing a drug test, Nike, Porsche, and TAG Heuer have all cut sponsorships with the athlete.
Sharapova tested positive for a drug known as Meldonium at this year’s Australian Open. The drug was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list in January 2016. Sharapova, who has been using the drug since 2006 for medical reasons said she was not aware it had been added to the banned substance list.
Nike and Porsche have both suspended their endorsement contracts with Sharapova until the pending investigation is complete while TAG Heuer has decided not to extend its contract with the athlete which expired last year. Such contracts are likely to cut Sharapova’s financial circumstances in a major way.
Since the announcement of the failed drug test, Sharapova has expressed her gratitude to the support of fans via social media. On Tuesday, following her admission, she expressed on Facebook how the day was anything but average and how determined she is to play tennis again. She further expressed that she hopes she has the chance to do so again.
Sharapova who was the highest paid female athlete in 2015, could face a possible four-year ban. Until the pending investigation is complete, Sharapova will be provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) with effect from March 12, 2016.
The World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound described Sharapova’s conduct as reckless.