Nike has suspended its major endorsement with tennis star, Maria Sharapova hours after she admitted to failing a drug test at January’s Australian Open. Sharapova, who has been the highest earning athlete in any female sport, said on Monday that she had been taking Mildronate or Meldonium since 2006 and didn’t realise it was declared a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1 this year. Just hours after the announcement, she lost her most lucrative deal, an eight-year deal with Nike for a reported $70million, where she has her own clothing line.
In a statement, Nike said: ‘We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation.’
She also earns $30million a year in endorsements, according to Forbes. Current endorsements include American Express, Avon, Evian, Porsche, Tag Heuer.