Andy Murray has expressed disappointment at his racket sponsor Head’s support for Maria Sharapova after the five-time grand slam winner admitted failing a drugs test.
The company released a statement on Thursday claiming it was proud to be associated with the Russian just three days after her revelation that she had tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open.
Head also announced the intention to extend Sharapova’s contract, even though she is facing a possible four-year ban from tennis, and Murray was baffled by the approach from a company he has used throughout his career.
Speaking at a press conference in Indian Wells ahead of his participation in the BNP Paribas Open, the Scot said: “I think it’s a strange stance given everything that’s happened the last few days.
“I don’t really know what else to say on that, but that’s not something I believe.
“I think at this stage it’s important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in my view. I personally wouldn’t have responded like that.”
Murray’s comments came after Head had publicly backed Sharapova despite a number of her other sponsors, including Nike and Porsche, distancing themselves from her while watchmaker Tag Heuer vowed to cut ties completely.
Sharapova has used Head’s equipment since 2011 and a statement from chairman and chief executive Johan Eliasch read: “The honesty and courage (Sharapova) 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.”