Nike and other sponsors are dropping Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova after she admitted to failing a drug test at this year’s Australia Open.
For years Sharapova has been one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world.
On Monday, Sharapova admitted to taking the drug meldonium since 2006. She claims she didn’t realize it was declared a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency at the start of 2016.
Meldonium is designed to improve blood flow around the body, and is often used to treat heart issues. It can also improve patients’ moods and make them become more active.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.”
Automaker Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, said Tuesday it was postponing all planned sponsorship activities with Sharapova.
Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer, also said it was suspending negotiations with the tennis player about renewing a sponsorship deal that ended in December.
The International Tennis Federation is provisionally banning Sharapova “pending determination of the case.”
First-time offenders are usually served with a two-year ban from the sport.
Sharapova claims she started taking the drug because of a magnesium deficiency and irregular EKGs, which can signal problems with the heart’s electrical activity. She also pointed to her family’s history of diabetes.
Sharapova’s current eight-year deal with Nike is reported to be worth $70 million.