Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis world when she announced she failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. Sharapova made the announcement on March 7 during a press conference in Los Angeles, Ca.
Meldonium, a medication Sharapova claimed she has taken for 10 years, was recently added to the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) banned drug list in January.
Sharapova said a doctor prescribed her the medication in 2006 for issues including magnesium deficiency, early signs of diabetes, multiple influenza viruses and irregular results on her EKG.
Meldonium is generally used to treat angina and heart attacks. It increases oxygen to the blood, which may increase a person’s endurance, and, in the case of an athlete, his or her performance.
Later that day, Nike announced it had suspended its contract with the five-time Grand Slam Champion.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike made in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.”
Swiss watch brand TAG Hauer also cut ties with Sharapova following her announcement, as well as German luxury car company Porsche.
According to “Forbes” magazine, Sharapova has been the highest paid female athlete in the world for the past 11 years.
“I’d like to play again and hope to have the chance to do so,” Sharapova wrote on March 9 in an open letter to her fans.
No decision has been made by the ITF about Sharapova’s future in tennis, but she has taken a hiatus from competing.