Maria Sharapova's Big Mistake!
The highest-earning female tennis star has been banned for doping
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The tennis world is up in arms over their poster girl Maria Sharapova being banned from the sport. Maria, 28, is officially the biggest earning female the sport has ever had, eclipsing big name stars such as Serena and Venus Williams and Anna Kournikova, but now she’s facing a backlash and is losing all of her commercial deals after being found guilty of doping.
Nike: Just Ditch It
The tennis champion has had her lucrative multi-million dirham deal with Nike, who she signed an eight-year contract with in 2010, suspended after she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open in January. A Nike spokesperson said in a statement: “We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. We’ve decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We’ll continue to monitor the situation.” Nike isn’t the only brand to sever its ties with the blonde beauty as the Swiss watch brand Tag Heuer, which was planning to extend its contract with Maria after it ended last year, has also decided to ditch her.
The sportswoman holds contracts with other recognised brands, including Evian, Porsche, American Express, Avon and her own sweet brand, Sugarpova, but the future of these collaborations hangs in the balance. Maria, who won her first Wimbledon tennis title at the age of 17, admitted to taking the anti-ischemic drug Meldonium – used to increase blood flow to the heart – but claimed she’d been legally prescribed it in 2006 by her family doctor to help with her health issues. However, the drug was outlawed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) for enhancing performance in January 2016 and she has subsequently been banned by the International Tennis Federation.
Brits Don’t Believe Her
Speaking of her suspension, she said: “It’s very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on Wada’s banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years. I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues that I was having in 2006.” However, some former Olympians have doubted her innocence, with Brit swimmer Rebecca Adlington saying: “Surely her support team must have known what she was taking? My coach always knew everything I was putting in my body so surely her support team would.” Retired British sprinter Jeanette Kwakye shared Adlington’s opinion on the subject, telling BBC News: “When I heard that excuse it was just so elementary, if I’m honest. It’s absolutely absurd. She’s the highest-paid female sports star in the world and I’m pretty sure she can afford a team of people to make sure they stay on top of that. So as an excuse, that doesn’t really wash with me.”