Head Rackets Will Stand By Maria Sharapova Saying She Has Earned “Benefit Of The Doubt”

by Tom Gainey | March 10th, 2016, 9:30 am

While several of Maria Sharapova’s multi-million dollar sponsors have distanced themselves from the tainted star, racket maker Head has decided to stand by the Russian and even extend her contract, backing her 100% and laying out part of what will be Sharapova’s defense in the weeks and months ahead.

The statement from CEO Johan Eliasch:

“We further believe that she has and still is dealing with the medical conditions she described. Prior to 2016, we believe that Maria has never throughout her career been taking any WADA banned substances or any other illegal substances.

“In the absence of any evidence of any intent by Maria of enhancing her performance or trying to gain an unfair advantage through the use of mildronate, we further conclude this falls into the category of ‘honest’ mistakes.

“For a decade Maria Sharapova has been 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. HEAD is proud to stand behind Maria, now and into the future and we intend to extend her contract. We look forward to working with her and to announcing new sponsorships in the weeks and months ahead.

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17 Comments for Head Rackets Will Stand By Maria Sharapova Saying She Has Earned “Benefit Of The Doubt”

Michael Bobrow Says:

Maria has been an extraordinary role model not only for children in tennis but for people taking responsibility for world- wide issues- Chernobyl for example. She faces a very difficult time in her career now in dealing with ambiguous and changing drug regulations. She’s chosen to take the “high road” and not only accept full responsibility for her role in the situation but she continues to set an impeccable example for how a sportsperson not only takes responsibility but also is looking out for how all involved come out of the situation in a better place- the tennis organizations, the players, the rules and the kids. Bravo to Maria, a role model for our times in all sports and public responsibility. We will all be better off for the position she is taking!
Michael Bobrow

MMT Says:

This is a good sign – together with the fact that (unlike TAG Heuer) Nike and Porsche had only suspended their relationship with her, tells me that the punishment may indeed by measured, as it should be in my opinion.

leo Says:

Brave of Head!

I think 2 things will determine the narrative:
1. Dosage
2. Has she always been declaring her usage of the drug

I want to believe this is an honest mistake.

madmax Says:


Head is a brave sponsor that is for sure.

I hope this to be an honest mistake from Sharapova. Don’t you feel it in your gut, everyone? That this IS an honest mistake? When you compare to other sportspersons who have been busted –

It just does not stand easy when you talk about this athlete.

I may be completely wrong. I hope I am not.

The dosage point is crucial.

Van Persie Says:

Porsche: I could not afford one for myself, so I do not care…

But I do know for sure, I will never buy “Nike” things anymore….I understood they need perfection, so I guess I do not deserve, to buy them.
So, dear Nike: FY!

Wog Boy Says:

Wow, just wow, what a statment to be commended. Head wouldn’t make that kind of statement and decision if they didn’t have access to all details of Maria’s case and without consultation with thei legal team, that’s how you do it.
Somebody mentioned TAG, to my understanding they didn’t cancel the contract, it was none since it expired few months ago, they cancelled negotiations for the new one.
Once the case is finished I don’t have doubt in my mind that Nike and others will reinstate their contracts, it was just PC gesture.

jane Says:

very interesting point about dosage. this has never been raised before in the things that i’ve noticed or read, unless i missed it. if a person needs to take daily doses in excess of 1000-2000 mg then surely they could check this against maria’s medical records. so it’s good information to have, regardless of what they discover in sharapova’s case.

and yeah, this is certainly a brave statement by head, esp when things are so up in the air.

Wog Boy Says:

Wasn’t that the reason why they let Cilic of the hook, the dose?
I think Head did their homework properly.

Markus Says:

Andy Murray has expressed his opinion on this and I agree with him for slamming his own racket sponsor.

Dose? She tested positive, that’s enough to give her the punishment. And who is going to tell them what dose Maria was taking? Maria? Her doctor? How can you accurately determine the dosage one takes based on the level one finds in the system.

What is more important is if there is any medical indication for Maria to take the drug. I see none. She has no heart disease. She is too young and too physically active to have coronary artery disease. Irregular heart rhythm- is this a serious or a benign irregularity? The latter does not need treatment. For the former, Meldonium is not used for that. She has no way out that’s why she had to do that PR stunt to appear innocent and no culpuble. Her only way out is if ITF will turn a blind eye. It always does so I would not be surprised. But anything less than a 2 year suspension will put the credibility of ITF in promulgating their rules against doping.

skeezer Says:

“I think Head did their homework properly”
And Nike didn’t? TAG Heuer? Porsche?
Surrree ;). Maybe Head hasn’t done their homework properly.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ very possible they haven’t since their reaction was immediately after Maria announced she tested positive, on the other side Head gave it a few days before they made their statment, after consultation with Maria and her team, that’s how you do the business, not just to react to please the public and then when everything is over quietly reinstate contract like nothing happened, what they are going to do, pretty sleazy, at least Head stood by their client.

Wog Boy Says:

^^just to add, if they are so PC, why didn’t they cancel her contract?

skeezer Says:

“very possible they haven’t since their reaction was immediately after Maria announced she tested positive, ”

I say very impossible. She probably called her sponsors first. No way she let them no via a public press conference.

Wog Boy Says:

I say very possible.

What are you going to now, keep coming back and forth, you are funny dude:) like a little kid.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ “to do now”

Markus Says:

More respect for Murray and Nadal for their stand on this doping issue. If you want integrity in this sport, punish those who break the rules. I’m surprised at some people here who claim to love the sport but are now obviously looking the other way simply because it is a top player that is involved. What kind of integrity is that that can be easily swayed by the chicanery of a celebrity and her people’s PR machinations?

skeezer Says:

You constantly assume in your arguments so no one else can? That is like a littler kid.

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