The WTA has been an outlier in its approach to China. The ATP, which operates the men’s tennis circuit, has not suspended its Chinese tournaments, and other professional leagues, including the NBA, have been reluctant to confront Chinese authorities directly.
Peng has reappeared in recent weeks and given controlled interviews, saying she herself deleted the social media post and was misunderstood and did not make sexual assault allegations. But the WTA, which still lacks direct contact with Peng, maintained its position.
“We’ve watched very closely some of the brave and very honest moves that the WTA has made almost on their own,” Hellmann said. “And that brought our attention to both the potential need they might have for a title sponsorship, as well as really wanting to back and support the position they’re taking despite having a really negative impact on their business.”
Hellmann added: “It put their schedule at risk. It put a huge audience at risk, but they stood up for what they believed was right and stood up for their players and therefore, by extension, the voice of women across the world.
According to Lawler, contact with Hologic began with a golf game in December in San Diego, where Hologic has a major manufacturing facility, which involved Stephen MacMillan, president of Hologic, and Kyle Filippelli, the American tennis player’s boyfriend. CoCo Vandeweghe.
Lawler said MacMillan mentioned the WTA’s “moral stance” on Peng and expressed interest in Filippelli opening up talks with the WTA. MacMillan was put in touch with Alastair Garland, who sits on the WTA board, is the vice chairman of management company Octagon and is married to Lawler’s daughter, Charlotte.
“We had two calls, one before Christmas, one right after,” Lawler said. “And then we went to San Diego and we met them, and that’s how it all started. It clicked right away.