HEAD stands beside Maria Sharapova following positive drug test

Maria Sharapova and HEAD sponsorship

Maria Sharapova is losing sponsorships left and right but tennis racquet supplier HEAD is standing at her side.

The company said on Thursday that it was extending its contract with the player.

HEAD said it was “proud to stand behind Maria,” who they believe made an “honest mistake.”

Sharapova lost several major sponsorship after admitting last week that she failed a drug test at this year’s Australian Open.

The world’s highest-paid female athlete said she was taking the drug meldonium since 2006 and didn’t realize it was declared a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency at the start of 2016.

The 28-year-old Russian star said she began taking the drug for a magnesium deficiency and irregular EKGs, which can signal problems with the heart’s electrical activity.

HEAD said the circumstantial evidence is “beyond doubt” that her use of the drug after it was banned was “a manifest error.”

“Maria may have made a mistake, but she has earned the benefit of the doubt and we are extending it to her,” said Johan Eliasch, the CEO of HEAD.

Sharapova has been under an exclusive contract with HEAD for racquets, strings and grips since 2011.

“For more than a decade, Maria Sharapova has been a role model and woman of integrity who has inspired millions of fans around the world to play and watch tennis … the honesty and courage she displayed in announcing and acknowledging her mistake was admirable,” Eliasch said.

Nike recently suspended its contract with the tennis star and said it was “saddened and surprised by the news”

Automaker Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, also postponed all planned activities with the athlete.