Maria Sharapova Loses Endorsement Deals After Failed Drug Test
Maria Sharapova has been dropped by her sponsors Nike, TAG Heuer and Porsche, just hours after the tennis star announced she failed a drug test during January’s Australian Open. Sharapova, whose suspension by the International Tennis Federation begins on March 12, actually netted more money from her endorsement deals than she earned on the court.
Nike, which had an eight-year $70 million deal with Sharapova that began in 2008, said it was suspending its relationship with the tennis player, pending the ITF’s investigation. “We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” noted the sportswear company in a statement.
Tag Hauer said its contract with Sharapova ended on December 31, 2015, and it had begun to engage in talks with her about extending the deal, but in light of the new revelations, the watchmaker “decided not to renew the contract.” And Porsche also said it was ceasing to work with Sharapova until “further details” become known.
As Gossip Cop previously reported, the Grand Slam winner said in a press conference on Monday that for a decade she had been taking the drug Meldonium for a magnesium deficiency and because her family has a history of diabetes. The medication was not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list of substances until January 1, 2016, after a finding that it could also be used as a performance enhancing drug. According to Sharapova, she never opened the email she was sent in December that had an updated list of banned drugs, which is why she continued to use it during the Australian Open, where rival Serena Williams beat her in the quarterfinals.