Porsche is among the first sponsors to distance themselves from Maria Sharapova after the five-times Grand Slam champion and the world’s highest-paid female athlete, failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
The 28-year old Russian tennis star was tested positive for Meldonium, a substance manufactured and marketed by a company based in Latvia and used in Lithuania and the Russian Federation to treat angina and myocardial infarction.
Meldonium wasn’t on the banned list until recently and it was used by Sharapova for the past 10 years: "It is very important for you to understand that, for 10 years, this medicine was not on WADA's banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine for the past 10 years", she said, according to the BBC.
The professional athlete mentioned that WADA had e-mailed her on December 22, informing of changes to the banned list of substances, but she didn't click on the link that could have saved her from a disastrous situation.
Sharapova made the announcement earlier in the week, during a live stream: "I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today, but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet", she said.
Porsche's response came in today, in the form of a statement, which announced that the sponsorship of the professional athlete has been suspended: "We regret the current news about Maria Sharapova. Until further details emerge and we are able to analyse the situation, we have decided to suspend planned activities."
Apart from the Stuttgart-based manufacturer, Nike and Tag Heuer, also dropped their sponsorship of the tennis player.