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Sponsors Distance Themselves from Sharapova

By John Burns, Associate Editor
March 8, 2016

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Several sponsors, including Nike, Beaverton, Ore., have moved quickly to distance themselves from five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova after she admitted to failing a drug test at January’s Australian Open.

Nike has suspended its relationship, Porsche is “postponing planned activities,” and Tag Heuer has dropped Sharapova.

In a recent press conference, Sharapova said she had been taking meldonium since 2006 on the advice of her family doctor, though the substance has been banned since the beginning of the year. Sharapova claimed to be unaware of its banned status.

The tennis star has been sponsored by Nike since she was 11 years old, and the apparel giant will “continue to monitor the situation,” according to media reports.

The International Tennis Federation said she will be provisionally suspended from beginning March 12, according to the BBC. — J.B.