Racket sponsor keeps backing Sharapova despite 2-year ban

VIENNA – Maria Sharapova’s racket supplier reinforces its support of the five-time Grand Slam champion, one day after she was banned for two years for doping.

Head CEO Johan Eliasch calls the suspension imposed by an ITF anti-doping tribunal “a flawed decision,” repeating his comment that the substance Sharapova tested positive for, meldonium, shouldn’t be on WADA’s banned list because of a lack of scientific evidence for its supposed performance-enhancing effect.

Eliasch says his company “will continue to stand by Miss Sharapova.”

Earlier, Nike also announced its continued support for Sharapova after initially putting their long-term deal on hold in March, when she revealed she failed a doping test at the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova has said she will appeal the suspension.