Zee Media Bureau
In one of the most shocking sports news in recent times, darling of the tennis world Maria Sharapova on Monday announced she had failed a drug test during the Australian Open in January.
A winner of five grand slams and one of the best female tennis player of her generation, Sharapova said during a news conference on Monday that she had been taking meldonium for health reasons for a decade.
She further said that she had not noticed when it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as of January 1 and that she had made a 'huge mistake'.
Following this outbreak, three of the world's premier brands – Nike, Porsche and Tag Heuer – have cut ties with the tennis champion.
"We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova," said Kejuan Wilkins, a spokesman for Nike.
"We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation," he added.
Nike is one of the most high profile sponsors of the tennis star.
Luxury carmaker Porsche also said on Tuesday it would suspend tennis player Sharapova as its brand ambassador.
"We regret the current news about Maria Sharapova. Until further details emerge and we are able to analyse the situation, we have decided to suspend planned activities," Porsche said in a statement.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer, whose contract with Sharapova ended on December 31, 2015 said it would not renew the contract.
“We had been in talks to extend our collaboration,” a spokeswoman said. “In view of the current situation, the brand has decided not to renew the contract with Sharapova.”
The company had been in a relationship with Sharapova since 2004.