Nike’s touching tribute to Maria Sharapova as she announces retirement

Nike's "NYC Street Tennis" Event

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from the sport.

Throughout her career, she has been a key ambassador for Nike, donning the famous tick on courts for years.

Therefore, it is only right that Nike pay tribute to one of their star athletes as she brings her playing career to a close.

Sharapova’s deal with Nike was amid much speculation when she was found guilty of doping in 2016, after she revealed that she had failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open.

Due to this, Maria received an initial two-year ban from the International Tennis Federation, which was later reduced to 15 months.

Luxurious Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer decided to not extend their deal with Sharapova. Nike however, did.

They supported their athlete as the Court of Arbitration for Sports found that Sharapova had committed ‘no significant fault’ and that the substance she had taken was based on a doctor’s recommendation, which she believed with good faith was appropriate and compliant with relevant rules.

The Russian has had many collaborations with Nike throughout her career, including launching her own tennis apparel line in 2010, which was called the ‘Nike Maria Sharapova Collection.’

She later collaborated with them again for her own take on Nike’s trainer the ‘Nike Cortez’, which was released with various colour ranges.

Nike showed their appreciation for their star athlete with a tweet on their official account.

“Farewell to one of the greatest competitors in the history of the sport.” This is followed with a black and white image of Sharapova with the following statement.

"They wanted you to smile more. They wanted you to be more polite. They wanted you to scream a little softer. They wanted you to be less aggressive when you won. They wanted you to walk away when you made mistakes. But instead of just becoming the player the game wanted? You became the player it needed."

This tribute even makes reference to Sharapova’s ban with her mistakes, but shows how she was supported by Nike during this hard time.

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