Maria Sharapova’s tennis racket manufacturer have confirmed they will be extending their contract with the Russian, despite her being tested positive for doping.
The leading sports equipment company, Head, claim they believe that the 28 year-old made a mistake and have given her ‘the benefit of the doubt’.
A spokesperson elaborated saying:
“Maria may have made a mistake, but she has earned the benefit of the doubt and we are extending it to her.
“She is 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 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.”
The announcement comes as a shock, after Sharapova quickly lost the backing of Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche just hours after her own confession.
Details of how long Sharapova will be banned from competing is as yet unknown, but her WADA suspension starts on March 12.