Melbourne: Sports brand Nike has suspended its relationship with former world number one Maria Sharapova after the Russian player failed a drug test at the Australian Open that eventually resulted in her provisional suspension.
The 28-year old star received a ban after she tested positive for meldonium, a substance, she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.
Reflecting on their decision, Nike said that they were stunned by the news about Sharapova and decided to suspend its ties with her.
The sports brand, however, said that they would continue to monitor the issue, news.com.au reported.
The International Tennis Federation said that Sharapova was charged in accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the TADP with an anti-doping rule violation, adding that she would be provisionally suspended from March 12.
Meanwhile, the five-time Grand Slam champion has accepted the charge
levelled against her, saying that she had no one to blame but herself .
Admitting that she made a ‘huge mistake’, Sharapova said she received a list of prohibited items from WADA for 2016, but added she did not look at the list.
Sharapova, who admitted that she had let her fans down, insisted that she does not want to end her career like this and hopes to get another chance to play the game.
Sharapova, who lives in Florida, provided the anti-doping sample in question on January 26th, the day she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter finals.
The 400,000 dollars that Sharapova had won at the Australian Open will be immediately forfeited, with a two-year and potentially career-ending ban could be possible.