Racket Sponsor Head Backs Sharapova Even After Failing Dope Test

Sharapova’s racket supplier became the first main sponsor to back her after she admitted to failing a doping test.

Updated
Sports
1 min read
Maria Sharapova. (Photo: AP)

Maria Sharapova’s racket supplier became the first main sponsor to publicly back the five-time Grand Slam champion after she admitted to failing a doping test.

Austria-based company Head announced on Thursday it was planning to extend its sponsorship deal, three days after Sharapova revealed her use of the banned substance meldonium.

Head CEO Johan Eliasch said Sharapova has made “a manifest error” by her continued use of the drug after it was banned, but added there was no “evidence of any intent by Maria of enhancing her performance or trying to gain an unfair advantage.”

The CEO of the company which began sponsoring Sharapova in 2011 said:

Head is proud to stand behind Maria, now and into the future and we intend to extend her contract. We look forward to working with her and to announcing new sponsorships.
Johan Eliasch

Several other brands, including sports gear giant Nike, watch maker TAG Heuer, and sports car company Porsche, were quick to suspend their support of the world’s highest-earning female athlete after her announcement on Monday that she failed the drug test at the Australian Open in January, days after the substance was banned.

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