The Golden Girl of tennis has fallen due to a failed drug test that revealed her positive for the substances banned by the league. While some of her fans proudly stood by Maria Sharapova, the majority of the public appears to not be as forgiving. Despite her explanation that the league-banned drug was only used for medical purposes, the tennis superstar is still slipping farther down in the sport.
When the news broke that Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, the tennis community was divided on how to react to the information. Others believed that the tennis champ meant no harm in her use of the banned substance while some felt cheated by the star. Either way, the revelation indubitably sank the net work of Sharapova - a fact represented by the sheer number of sponsors who pulled out their support soon after the issue grabbed the spotlight.
The latest to add to the pile of organizations abandoning Sharapova are the United Nations, according to CNN. The Russian tennis star, the goodwill ambassador for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), was suspended from the position pending the investigation of the league. This latest loss - the job Sharapova once called her "proudest" accomplishment - further highlighted the gravity of the situation for the tennis star.
"The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery," shared a spokesman for the UNDP. The representative added, "However, in light of Ms. Sharapova's recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues. We wish Ms. Sharapova the best."
Prior to the UNDP, Nike and Tag Heuer were the first brands to turn their backs on Sharapova. The sports brand is considered as the tennis star's most lucrative sponsor. Apart from Nike and Tag Heuer, Porsche also withdrew their support of the Russian star.
"We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova," Nike announced via The Guardian. The company added, "We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation."
Meanwhile, another tennis superstar voiced out his opinion on the matter. Rafael Nadal, the current World No 5 in the sport, shared that the consequences of the revelation are just. That is, Nadal feels Sharapova deserves the outrage and backlash due to the issue.
"I want to believe that for sure it is a mistake for Maria, that she didn't want to do it, but it is a negligence so the rules are like this. It's fair, so now she must pay for it," shared Nadal via a separate The Guardian report.
While Nadal agrees that transgressions can happen to anyone at any given time, he shared that his team handles the league policies and rules with utmost efficiency and carefulness. Hence, the Spanish star is confident that such "mistake" committed by Sharapova will never happen to him.
"I am 100 percent confident with my team and at the same time, I know all the things that I am taking so it is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen. But it is obvious that mistakes can happen - everyone can make mistakes," he said. Nadal added, "That can happen, because if you believe in your team and the team is not enough professional, that can happen."