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Racket brand Head publicly supports Maria Sharapova after Nike, TAG Heuer pull out

Maria Sharapova's racket supplier says it is planning to extend its sponsorship deal despite the five-time Grand Slam champion admitting to failing a doping test.

Head CEO Johan Eliasch says Sharapova has made "a manifest error" by her continued use of meldonium after it became a banned substance this year, but adds there is no "evidence of any intent by Maria of enhancing her performance or trying to gain an unfair advantage."

Eliasch says his brand "is proud to stand behind Maria, now and into the future and we intend to extend her contract. We look forward to working with her and to announcing new sponsorships."

File photo of Maria Sharapova autographing a Head racket. Reuters

File photo of Maria Sharapova autographing a Head racket. Reuters

In his statement Eliasch added, "We also know that for more than a decade, Maria Sharapova has been a role model and woman of integrity who has inspired millions of fans around the world to play and watch tennis. The honesty and courage she displayed in acknowledging and announcing her mistake was admirable."

Nike, TAG Heuer and Porsche suspended their commercial ties with Sharapova after she revealed her use of the drug for medical reasons Monday.

With inputs from AP

Published Date: Mar 10, 2016 17:17 PM | Updated Date: Mar 10, 2016 17:21 PM

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