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Annie Miller and Betsy Somerville Purpura

2011 Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees

Miller _ Sommerville - 2011 Hall of Fame

  ANNIE MILLER, 2011 Non-Player Recipient
This year’s Tennis Hall of Fame Non-Player recipient, Annie Miller is a highly reputable and renowned sports writer in Hawaii for over 30 years.  As Hawaii’s first female sports writer, Annie has been a primary voice in not only reporting but shaping Hawaii’s athletics.

Originally from northern California, Annie played basketball, softball, volleyball and tennis.  Annie was introduced to tennis through her dad who grew up playing on public courts and drove to play in tournaments all over California.  Annie and her dad played and watched tennis together and it was his passion that garnered her life-long love of the game.
Annie was a two-time league doubles champion in high school and played softball in college.  Her fondness for sports spilled on to paper and as a high school and college sports editor, Annie set precedent to her enduring career as a journalist.  She graduated 1980 from San Francisco State with BA in Journalism and BS in Physical Education. She was interviewed and hired by The Honolulu Advertiser over the phone while studying for finals.  She moved to Hawaii two months later. 

Annie was the first female sportswriter in Hawaii and started covering tennis soon after her move when friend and fellow Honolulu Advertiser photographer Greg Yamamoto played doubles against her sports editor and his wife. After a significant and gracious win over her editor, Annie was asked to report on tennis, to complement Rock Rothrock's weekly columns. 

Soon after, Annie’s main beats began to include volleyball, golf, and several Olympic sports.  She quickly established herself in Hawaii’s sports community.  She took the time to get to know the players, coaches and people that made tennis and other sports thrive in Hawaii.  

Annie’s articles have always been more than simply reporting the scores and giving a play-by-play.  Her knowledge and passion for sports like tennis, coupled with her sincere compassion to tell the story, can be felt in every one of her stories.  Annie’s writing gave Hawaii’s tennis scene a significant place in a sports culture that was dominated with headlines and scores of football, baseball and basketball.  Most importantly, her stories brought Hawaii’s tennis to life by showcasing the unique people and stories that make this sport so special to all of us.

BETSY SOMERVILLE PURPURA – 2011 Player Recipient 

This year’s Tennis Hall of Fame Player recipient, Betsy Somerville Purpura, is one of the most accomplished female tennis players in Hawaii.  She is the youngest of the of the tennis renowned Somerville family and an exemplary sportswoman both on and off the court.

Growing up on Maui, Hawaii and Oahu, Betsy was a highly-accomplished and top-ranked junior, collegiate and adult player at the sectional, national, and international levels.  She was the:
- No.1 ranked junior player in Hawaii in the 10 through 18 age groups
- No.1 ranked Women's Open player in Hawaii while still a junior player
- three-time Hawaii high school state champion
- nationally-ranked junior in the 12s through the 18s and
- a gold medalist at the 1986 Olympic Festival in girls doubles

In college, Betsy’s game blossomed.  She was the No. 1 singles and doubles player for University of Arizona and qualified for the NCAA singles and doubles championships all four years.  She received All-American honors in 1988, won the ITA doubles championship and reached a No. 1 NCAA Division I doubles ranking that same year.
Professionally, Betsy played on the Women’s Tennis Association tour for two years and achieved a singles rank in the 400s and a doubles rank of 129.  She competed in the doubles main draw of every Grand Slam event with partners from all over the world.

Besty is the bearer of five Gold Balls, three Silver Balls, and one Bronze Ball.  She won her first Silver Ball at age 11 at the USTA Girls 12s National Hardcourt Doubles.  Her most recent win was a Gold Ball at the 2006 USTA National Super Senior Mother-Daughter Grass Court Championships.  Overall, betsy earned three Gold & two Silver balls in Mother-Daughter Doubles National events with fellow Hall of Famer, Harriet Somerville.

One of Besty’s career highlights was at the 2003 Women's 35 Grass Court Championship where she won a Gold Ball in doubles with doubles partner, Laura Glitz and a Bronze Ball in singles.

Accomplishments such as these are a reflection of Besty’s tenacious nature and passion on the court.  It is her down-to-earth and humble demeanor is what makes her world-class champion off the court.   


WEB NEWS - 2011 Hall of Fame