New York: Global sports apparel giants Nike has suspended ties with Maria Sharapova after the Russian tennis star failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
"We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova," Kejuan Wilkins, a spokesman for Nike, said on Monday.
"We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation."
Sharapova disclosed at a news conference on Monday that she had been taking a drug named Meldonium for over a decade for health reasons.
But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned the drug from January 1.
Sharapova, the World No.7, said she didn`t notice that the drug was banned by the WADA.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on its website on Monday that the 28-year-old would be provisionally banned from March 12. The usual ban for first-time offenders is two years.
The failed drug test came on January 26 -- after Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals -- and she was charged with an anti-doping violation on March 2, the governing body additionally said.
The failed drug test could cause the five-time Grand Slam winner a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the $298,000 she won in January at the Australian Open.