TAG Heuer pulls plug on Sharapova contract negotiations

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 22: Maria Sharapova poses with a gold dust painting during the Maria Sharapova Exhibition Match at Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel on October 22, 2015 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images For TAG Heuer) *** Local Caption *** Maria Sharapova

TAG Heuer has confirmed that it has brought to an end its association with former brand ambassador Maria Sharapova following news of the tennis star’s doping ban.

A spokesperson for TAG Heuer which has been associated with the world women’s No. 7 since 2004, told WatchPro: “Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31st, 2015. We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations.”

Sharapova, thought to be the world’s highest paid female athlete, is thought to earn around $30m (£21m) each year in endorsements, the majority of which came from sportswear brand Nike, which chose to suspend its association with Sharapova following her announcement that she had failed a drugs test for the substance meldonium, which was only banned by the World Anti Doping Agency in January.

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Sharapova  states that she wasn’t aware meldonium was the same substance as the mildronate she had been taking for 10 years for a number of health concerns including low magnesium levels and evidence of diabetes, which runs in her family.

Sharapova is the fifth professional athlete to test positive for the blood-flow promoting drug since it was outlawed in January.

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