"We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova," Kejuan Wilkins, a spokesman for Nike, said yesterday.

"We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation,” added Kejuan.

Sharapova disclosed at a news conference yesterday 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 yesterday 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 quarterfinals 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 USD 298,000 she won in January at the Australian Open.

Apart from this, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer said today it won't renew its association with Maria Sharapova, after the Russian tennis star said she had failed a drug test during the Australian Open. Their association began in 2004.

"Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015. We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract," the unit of French luxury goods group LVMH said in a statement.

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