MIAMI – Madison Keys, a Founding Champion for the nonprofit organization Kindness Wins, announced Wednesday 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,” Madison Keys said. “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.

“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,” Keys said. “[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.” 

Said Blake: “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. 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