University of Southern California
AnnaMaria Fernandez-Ruffels is not only a twin, so are her other sisters — that’s two sets of twin girls who in their youth needed a constructive way to spend their time. Enter: tennis.
AnnaMaria’s mother was a good player looking for a tennis club for her family. She joined the Jack Kramer Club in Estates, California. That club later became famous for mentoring national tennis champions like Lindsey Davenport, Pete Sampras, and, of course, AnnaMaria Fenandez-Ruffels.
“We never thought about playing as a professional growing up,” AnnaMaria says. AnnaMaria and her sisters were more excited about seeing their friends than playing tennis. “I think kids think about becoming a pro too soon nowadays and they miss out on the natural, gradual process. College tennis is great because it offers a stepping stone for kids to pursue.”
In college, she joined the USC women’s tennis team, where she became a three-time All-American and was named the Tennis Magazine College Player of the Year her junior year. She didn’t stop there. Professionally, she won five WTA titles in doubles and defeated reigning champions Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini at Wimbledon.
But when it comes to the most memorable victories of her career, AnnaMaria gives those honors to winning the NCAA singles title in 1981 and two team titles at USC.
“It’s a fantastic honor to be inducted into the Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame,” AnnaMaria says. “I feel a lot of gratitude for this moment, it’s just incredible.” “I don’t think you ever appreciate tennis as much as when you leave the game. The competition is extremely taxing mentally and physically. It’s grueling. But if you can overcome that, you become a stronger person both on and off the court.”
- • Career-high WTA singles ranking: #19
• Winner of five WTA professional doubles titles
• AIAW Singles Champion, 198 University of Southern CA
• Member of USC’s (University of Southern California) National Championship Team, 1979, 1980
• National (USA) College Player of the Year, Broderick Award, 1981, USC Scholar Athlete of the Year
• Three-time Collegiate All-American
• Winner of six national junior doubles titles
• Color Commentator for New Zealand’s National 3 Network
• Guest tennis writer for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times and Tennis magazine
• Writer for International Players magazine
• Traveling coach for WTA pros Vania King, Lupita Novelo and Alison Scott
• Member Board of Directors, Tennis Australia, ACT, 2009–2011
• Member of the Development Committee for ACT’s Lyneham tennis facility, 2010–2011
• ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame Inductee, 2022