MIAMI, FL (March 23, 2022) – Madison Keys, a Founding Champion for the nonprofit organization Kindness Wins, announced today that she has awarded a ‘Medal of Kindness’ to Miami Open Tournament Director James Blake for his fervent support of cancer research since 2008, his outspoken encouragement for equality and commitment to tennis.
“I could say a lot about why I admire James,” said Madison Keys. “He does so much to raise money for cancer research through his foundation and he’s a constant advocate for equality. I feel like the thing that stands out to me the most about him is his character. He is always looking to help, no matter the need, and with this medal I want to thank and recognize him for all he does to help others.”
Keys and Blake appeared together on Tennis Channel from the Miami Open on Wednesday to talk about the Medal of Kindness initiative and Blake as a recipient.
“I’ve had some really hard times in my career and he’s always one of the first people to reach out and send a message,” said Keys. “[He’s] just a really great person as well as a great tennis player and that’s always something I’ve tried to do and he’s always been a really big inspiration for me.”
“Madi is doing an unbelievable job of taking the matches she wins on the court – and what you get from those matches is you get a voice – and using your voice for positivity is something that is so impressive,” said Blake. “She’s doing something really special with being positive through a time a lot of people can be pretty negative. I’m proud of her for so many reasons and this is just one of them.”
This is the third Medal of Kindness Keys has awarded this year. She previously recognized Larry Salas for his efforts locally in the Coachella Valley and with the Indian Wells tournament, and Anne Wang, a teacher in California whose perseverance and ingenuity during the pandemic created a safe and successful environment for her students.
Kindness Wins, which launched in early 2020, encourages and spreads kindness to others across the globe, and the Medal of Kindness goes to those individuals whose personal efforts have contributed to that concept. Today’s medal is one in a series of acts big and small that are being recognized by Champions Madison Keys, Mikaela Shiffrin and Oksana Masters on an ongoing basis, for individuals’ and organizations’ impacts on the world, big or small.
Kindness Wins is a platform for kindness, on and off the field of play. By identifying and supporting professional athletes as our champions, and elevating organizations and individuals who show and encourage kindness through sport, we are demonstrating that even in the most competitive environment, acts of kindness are possible, and their outcomes are impactful. For more, visit https://www.kindnesswins.org/
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About Kindness Wins
Kindness Wins is a 501©3 nonprofit that acts as an umbrella organization for kindness, and it all starts with sport, a space where team and community are formed, and where individuals and their actions can have influence. By amplifying kindness through sport, we can affect change in society, and bring kindness to the masses.
For more, visit https://www.kindnesswins.org/ and follow Kindness Wins on Facebook (facebook.com/KindnessWinsFoundation) Twitter (@KindnessWinsFdn) and Instagram (@KindnessWinsFoundation).
About the Kindness Wins Champions
Madison Keys is a Grand Slam finalist (2017 US Open), three-time Grand Slam semifinalist (2022 Australian Open, 2018 Roland Garros and 2015 Australian Open), and holds six WTA titles. She achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7 in the world. In 2016, she decided to create a nonprofit focused on girls called Fearlessly Girl USA. Her organization was committed to creating a kinder girl world – one girl at a time. Inspired by the kindness she has seen in so many of her competitors and fellow athletes, Madison chose to expand her commitment and relaunched Fearlessly Girl USA into Kindness Wins, a collaborative engine for Kindness.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin joined Kindness Wins in May 2020 following the success of Kindness in Crisis: an online auction to raise funds for COVID-19 relief. A self-proclaimed introvert by nature, Mikaela has recently opened up on her own social media channels, especially following the loss of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, whose motto was “Be nice, think first, and have fun.” Mikaela believes the online world has the potential to be a place of positivity and support rather than a hub for cyber-bullying and that we all have the ability to make that transformation happen, starting with this message of spreading Kindness.
Oksana Masters is an American multi-sport Paralympic athlete and medalist, competing in three different summer and winter sports, nine-time ParaNordic World Champion, and three-time ParaCycling World Championship medalist. Oksana was born in Ukraine with complications that later were linked to nuclear radiation exposure. Ultimately, her birth complications would lead to above-the-knee amputation of both of her legs. On her accomplishments and career, Masters says “I am so thankful I have been given a ‘second chance’ in life through my amazing family and the opportunity to fulfill my passion and hunger for racing and competing.”