Nike have suspended Maria Sharapova’s $50m deal after the Russian athlete admitted to using a banned drug.
The Russian, 28, tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said the five-time Grand Slam champion would be provisionally suspended from 12 March.
“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” said Sharapova, who won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004.
Sharapova, who is the world’s highest earning female athlete, making as much as $20m in 2015 alone, might lose her other lucrative contracts with Tag Heuer, American Express, Porsche, Evian and Avon.
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.”
Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion now faces a ban of up to four years which would end her career as a professional athlete.