Maria Bueno, legendary Brazilian tennis player, dies aged 78

Tanya Simon
June 12, 2018

Legendary Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon and four U.S. championship singles titles, has died at the age of 78 after battling mouth cancer. The hospital said that it would not release any more details on the passing of Bueno out of respect for her family. Known as "The Tennis Ballerina", Maria won all 19 Grand Slam crowns between 1958-1966, including three Wimbledon singles crowns and four at the US Open and in 1960 she conquered all four doubles Grand Slams crowns as the first player to accomplish that feat.

The official Tennis Hall of Fame led the tributes to Bueno following the news of her passing, taking to Twitter to describe her as "a graceful and accomplished champion who leaves a lasting legacy".

She also reached the final of the 1964 French Championships and the 1965 Australian Championships but lost to Margaret Court at Roland Garros and retired hurt against the Australian great at Kooyong.

Brazilian President Michel Temer tweeted that Bueno "will always be remembered as the number one of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians". "She helped lay the groundwork for what was to come", King told Bueno's website in 2009.

Retiring from the sport in 1977, she became a commentator herself for the Brazilian channel SporTV. She was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966.

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From 1957-67, a decade in which she was dominating on the tennis court, Bueno won 65 singles tournaments, 90 doubles titles and 15 in mixed doubles.

Bueno said men were key to her game.

Bueno's career took a downturn as the Open era started in 1968 because of arm and leg injuries.

She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson.

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". "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.

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