Even though most of Maria Sharapova’s sponsors have walked out on her since her admission of inadvertently taking a banned drug, most PR professionals will say she’s played a blinder in the way she took control of the announcement.

The first rule of bad news is to make it your bad news and no-one else’s. If you’ve got something that doesn’t put you in the best light, far better that you announce the story and control the message than have journalists do it for you. We only have to look back to the Lance Armstrong  debacle to know that trying to cover-up bad news doesn’t go well.

This rule doesn’t just apply to sports stars; any business or individual who wants to keep their reputation in tact in the long-term will usually find that honesty, along with the inevitable short-term pain will likely mean long-term gain.