Yesterday, news broke that Maria Sharapova failed a drug test in the midst of January’s Australian Open, leading to her relationship with Nike, which was estimated to be worth up to $70 million, being suspended. Porsche, which also had an endorsement relationship with the tennis star expressed disappointment in the news, but held off taking action, pending an investigation.
Prior to an exhibition match with Carolina Wozniacki at Madison Square Garden, Williams admitted that she was “shocked” by the announcement, but added that it took “courage” for Sharapova to be forthcoming with the news.
“Like everyone else, most people were surprised and shocked. But most people are happy with the fact she was upfront with what she had done in terms of what she had neglected. With that being said, she’s taking responsibility, which she was ready to do.” Wozniacki added that it was unusual that Sharapova, one of the most high-profile players in the sport on both the male and female sides of the fence, wasn’t familiar with the updated 2016 drug regulations. The drug that Sharapova tested positive for, Meldonium, is on the list of banned substances for the first time. Sharapova allegedly had been taking the drug for several years for health reasons.
When asked whether or not she believed Sharapova had an unfair advantage in any of their recent matches–Williams is 18-0 against Sharapova in their last 18 meetings–the WTA World #1 simply responded, “I don’t think I’m the best person to ask that question.”