SportsWear manufacturing giant Nike have suspended Maria Sharapova’s $50m deal after the Russian athlete admitted to using a banned drug. The WTA ranked World No. 7 admitted in her press conference yesterday that she had been using performance enhancer drug meldonium for the last 10 years as part of a doctor’s prescription for health issues and didn’t know it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in December.
Sharapova, who is the world’s highest earning female athlete, making as much as $20m in 2015 alone, might lose her other lucrative contracts with Tag Heuer, American Express, Porsche, Evian and Avon.
In a statement, Nike said:
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion now faces a ban of up to four years which would end her career as a professional athlete.