Maria Sharapova has been suspended as a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), for which the five-times grand slam winner became a goodwill ambassador in February 2007, suspended Sharapova after she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at this year's Australian Open.

"In light of Ms Sharapova's recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues. We wish Ms Sharapova the best," the UNDP said in a statement.

Sharapova's work with the UN focused mainly on helping survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

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"The United Nations Development Programme remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery," the statement added.

Sharapova, the highest-paid woman in world sport, has been losing sponsors ever since she announced the failed test at a press conference on March 8.

Nike, the world's largest sportswear maker, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer and German luxury car maker Porsche have suspended their ties with her.

She faces a ban of up to four years pending the outcome of an investigation by the International Tennis Federation.