Maria Sharapova has received rare backing from a sponsor after her racket maker HEAD agreed her failed drugs test was an “honest mistake”.
Blue-chip sponsors Nike, TAG Heuer and Porsche have all suspended their relationships with Sharapova following her Monday confession that she tested positive for meldonium.
But in a statement from HEAD – who also sponsor Andy Murray – chief executive Johan Eliash said the company believed Sharapova’s version that she was taking the substance for medicinal reasons and not as a performance-enhancing drug.
Eliash said: “It is common ground within the scientific community that in order for meldonium to have any relevant performance enhancing effect it has to be taken in daily dosages in excess of 1,000 to 2,000mg.
“According to the attorney for Maria, her dosage was significantly less than that.We further believe that she has and still is dealing with the medical conditions she described.”
His statement added: “Maria announced on March 7th, 2016 that she had tested positive for the use of meldonium, but that this was a mistake by her as she had not realized that mildronat or meldonium had been added to the WADA list of banned substances.
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