Sponsors sticking with Maria Sharapova despite ban

10:29 a.m. EDT June 9, 2016

USA TODAY Sports’ Nick McCarvel discusses Maria Sharapova’s two0year ban for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open.

VIENNA (AP) — Two more sponsors reinforced their support of Maria Sharapova on Thursday, one day after the five-time Grand Slam champion was banned for two years for doping.

Racket supplier Head and bottled water company Evian followed sports gear giant Nike by saying they continue to back the 29-year old Russian, who is set to appeal her suspension.

However, Avon announced it would not extend a partnership that was set to expire. But the manufacturer of beauty and personal care products said its decision had nothing to do with Sharapova’s doping ban.

Head CEO Johan Eliasch called the suspension imposed by an International Tennis Federation anti-doping tribunal “a flawed decision,” repeating his comment that the substance Sharapova tested positive for, meldonium, shouldn’t have been added to WADA’s banned list on Jan. 1.

According to the…

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