Nike has suspended its relationship with tennis sensation Maria Sharapova after she admitted to a positive drug test at this year’s Australian Open.
The 29 year-old Russian announced she failed a drug test during the first Grand Slam event of the year. She was informed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that she tested positive for Meldonium, which was recently added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of banned substances, and she has been taking it for the past ten years.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation,” Nike said as quoted by CNBC.
The ITF said Maria Sharapova would be provisionally suspended with effect from March 12.
The former world number one tennis player is not the first sportsperson to be suspended from Nike, after Manny Pacquiao had his contract terminated for homophobic slurs.