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End of glamour girl Maria Sharapova? Nike, TAG Heuer suspend ties

 

End of glamour girl Maria Sharapova? Nike, TAG Heuer suspend ties Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova said on Monday she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open due to a substance she was taking for health issues, leading longtime sponsor Nike to announce it was suspending ties during the investigation.

The 28-year-old Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion and the highest paid woman in sports, will be provisionally suspended starting March 12, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said. End of glamour girl Maria Sharapova? Nike, TAG Heuer suspend ties

She is the seventh athlete in a month to test positive for meldonium, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium, and was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as of Jan. 1.

“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down,” said Sharapova, a teenage tennis prodigy who became the third-youngest Wimbledon champion. “I take full responsibility for it.” End of glamour girl Maria Sharapova? Nike, TAG Heuer suspend ties

“I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game,” former world number one Sharapova told a news conference in a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

Two of Maria Sharapova’s top sponsors have suspended ties with the Russian tennis star after she admitted failing a doping test.

Sportswear giant Nike suspended its sponsorship, saying in a statement that it was “saddened and surprised by the news.” Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer says its deal with the Russian will not be renewed.

“We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues,” it said. End of glamour girl Maria Sharapova? Nike, TAG Heuer suspend ties

TAG Heuer said in a statement that its previous contract with Sharapova had expired at the end of 2015 and it has pulled out of negotiations on a new agreement.

The ITF’s anti-doping program calls for a four-year suspension for a positive test, but that ban can be reduced in various circumstances, such as for first-time offences or if the player shows no significant fault or negligence.

If a player bears no fault or negligence, there is no suspension.[…]

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