Tennis star Maria Bueno dies, aged 78

12 June, 2018, 20:30 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies after battle with cancer

Legendary Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon and four USA championship singles titles, has died at the age of 78 after battling mouth cancer.

Known for her stylishness and her exciting way of playing, she was the first South American woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.

But she rated the 1959 Wimbledon singles title as her greatest career achievement.

The 9 de Julho Hospital said she had been admitted for "oncological treatment" and asked for privacy. Both her father and mother played, and she was handling a racket at age 6.

In 1965, Bueno again won the Wimbledon doubles title, this time with tennis partner Billie Jean King.

Nicknamed "The Tennis Ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno spent most of her career on the court before the professional era. In his authoritative Tennis Encyclopedia, Bud Collins called Ms. Bueno "incomparably balletic and flamboyant" and said she played "with breathtaking boldness and panache". But she returned to tennis years later and won her final tournament at the Japan Open in 1974.


Later that year, she won the first of her four U.S. Open titles and was named the year's top female athlete.

Bueno was a consultant for several years for Sportv and commented on matches with Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten, the other Brazilian tennis legend.

A self-taught prodigy, she brought grace to the game and was a dominant force, BBC Americas editor Leonardo Rocha writes.

"There was a gasp from one end of the court", Bueno recalled years later.

One tennis writer, John Barrett, called her "the elegant queen of Brazilian tennis".

Thomaz Bellucci said she was "a pioneer in our country, where few people knew the sport and at a time when everything was much more difficult".

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