Sharapova nailed in anti-doping test; Nike suspends deal

World's highest-paid female athlete confesses to taking banned drug meldonium for "health reasons"

Los Angeles

MARIA Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion and the world's highest-paid female athlete, announced on Monday that she had tested positive for the recently banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open.

The tennis anti-doping programme confirmed the positive test, which occurred on Jan 26, the day Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals. Sharapova, who has not played since because of a forearm injury, will be suspended provisionally on Saturday pending a ruling in the case.

The commercial fallout was swift. Nike, one of Sharapova's long-time sponsors, announced in a statement that it was suspending its relationship with her "while the investigation continues". Sharapova...

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