Mar 09, 2016 11:13 AM EST

Maria Sharapova's Sponsors Back Out After Her Failed Drug Test

By R S Ali

Three big sponsor names of Maria Sharapova's cut ties with the Russain tennis No. 1 after she announced that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open at a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday (Mar 7).

German car company Porsche, sportswear producer Nike and Swiss watch company Tag Heuer backed out from Sharapova's sponsorship, reported Reuters.

Nike said in a statement that they were saddened and surprised by the news. They are to suspend their sponsorship relationship with Maria while the investigation is undergoing.

TAG Heuer had been in a sponsorship deal with the tennis queen that ended in 2015, and they had been in talks about extending it. They have now admitted to suspending negotiations, and decided to forego renewing the contract.

Porsche also followed suit, saying they were going to postpone activities in the matter until more details are revealed about the situation.

Sharapova's press conference was about acknowledging her failure of the doping test in January for the little-known drug meldonium. Meldonium was only listed as a banned substance under WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) this year.

Sharapova claimed that her family doctor had been prescribing mildronate for her. The drug is also called meldonium. She said she has been taking it for 10 years after she had health problems and had irregular EKG results, a magnesium deficiency and a hereditary history of diabetes.

'In her press conference she emphasized that she had been taking it legally until January, which is when it was declared illegal.

WADA refused to comment pending the ITF's final decision.

Some of the uses of meldonium are treating chest pain and heart attacks, but research has linked it to increased athletic performance and endurance. Some researchers claim it can help with recovery and WADA banned it, along with insulin.

The drug is available in Russia but is not approved in the United States

Sharapova took full responsibility and admitted to letting the game down.

The penalty by the the ITF's anti-doping program for an offence like this would normally be a four-year suspension but it can be reduced in certain situations, like for first-time offences or if the player shows no significant fault or negligence.

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