Nike has suspended its relationship with tennis star Maria Sharapova as the fallout from her admission of a positive drug test at this year’s Australian Open continues.
Sharapova has announced she failed a test for the banned anti-ischemia drug Mildronate, also known as meldonium.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” a Nike statement read.
“We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.
“We will continue to monitor the situation.”
It is not the first time this year that Nike has distanced itself from a controversial athlete.
Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao saw his contract with the sportswear company terminated after he described gay couples as “worse than animals”.
Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer is also dropping its sponsorship of Sharapova in response to her admission.
“Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015,” the unit of French luxury goods group LVMH said in a statement.
“We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract.”
Tennis Australia lauds Sharapova’s professionalism
Tennis Australia, which runs the Australian Open, released a statement on Tuesday saying it was surprised Sharapova tested positive at Melbourne Park.
“Throughout her career Maria has always impressed with her professionalism as a leader and role model in our sport,” the statement read.
“In her press conference, Maria said she is prepared to face the consequences of what she describes as a ‘huge mistake’.”