Tag Heuer not to renew contract with dope tainted Sharapova

Geneva, March 8: Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer said on Tuesday it won't renew its association with Maria Sharapova, after the Russian tennis star said she had failed a drug test during the Australian Open. Their association began in 2004. Global sports apparel giants Nike has also suspended ties with Sharapova following the revelations. "Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015. We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract," the unit of French luxury goods group LVMH said in a statement. Sharapova disclosed at a news conference on Monday that she had been taking a drug named Meldonium for over a decade for health reasons. But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned the drug from January 1, 2016. Sharapova, the World No.7, said she didn't notice that the drug was banned by the WADA. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on its website on Monday that the 28-year-old would be provisionally banned from March 12. The usual ban for first-time offenders is two years. The failed drug test came on January 26 -- after Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals -- and she was charged with an anti-doping violation on March 2, the governing body additionally said.