Racquet firm to extend Sharapova deal

Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam champion

Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam champion

Racquet manufacturer Head plans to extend its contract with Maria Sharapova, despite her positive test for banned drug meldonium.

The Russian, 28, has already lost the backing of Nike and Tag Heuer, while Porsche has suspended its relationship with her.

But Head says it is standing by the five-time Grand Slam champion.

“Maria may have made a mistake, but she has earned the benefit of the doubt and we are extending it to her,” it said.

Sharapova will be suspended from 12 March and could face a four-year ban after she tested positive at the Australian Open in January.

Head described Sharapova as “a role model and woman of integrity who has inspired millions of fans around the world to play and watch tennis”.

It added: “The honesty and courage she displayed in announcing and acknowledging her mistake was admirable.

“We look forward to working with her and to announcing new sponsorships in the weeks and months ahead.”

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