Maria Sharapova may have owned up to her mistakes, but the 28-year-old athlete is still suffering the consequences. After admitting in a press conference on Monday to testing positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open, the five-time major champion is already at risk of losing some of her many endorsement deals.
In a statement from Nike, the company tells ET, "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 has been the world's highest-paid athlete for 11 years straight, mostly due to her endorsement deals.
In her press conference, Sharapova explained that she has been prescribed the drug Mildronate (also known as Meldonium) by a family doctor for the past 10 years.
"I was getting sick very often, I had a deficiency of magnesium, irregular EKG results, family history of diabetes -- and that's one of the medications, along with several others that I had received," she explained to the press.
Sharapova was legally using the drug until it was banned this year by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Sharapova claimed she was not aware of the change.
"I made a huge mistake," she said during the conference. "I let my fans down. I let the sport down that I've been playing since the age of 4, that I love so deeply."
She was notified of her failed drug test on March 2 and is waiting to hear what the penalty to her career will be. According to Forbes, Sharapova earned $29.5 million in 2015.
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