Brazilian tennis great Bueno dies aged 78

Bueno carries the Rio 2016 Olympic torch during the torch relay in Sao Paulo Brazil

Bueno carries the Rio 2016 Olympic torch during the torch relay in Sao Paulo Brazil

Bueno won three Wimbledon singles titles and four at the US Open in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1959, Ms. Bueno became the first non-American in more than 20 years to win the women's title at Wimbledon, defeating Californian Darlene Hard in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

Bueno 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.

Bueno captured the Wimbledon singles crowns in 1959, 1960 and 1964 and the United States Nationals at Forest Hills, Queens, in 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1966.

She had been suffering from mouth cancer since a year ago and was hospitalized in May. "She played tennis until the very last moment".

"We send our condolences to the friends and loved ones of Maria Bueno, a four-time #USOpen singles and doubles champion".

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


"She was a pioneer in our country, where few people knew the sport and at a time when everything was much more hard", said tennis player Thomaz Bellucci. In his authoritative Tennis Encyclopedia, Bud Collins called Ms. Bueno "incomparably balletic and flamboyant" and said she played "with breathtaking boldness and panache".

Bueno said men were key to her game.

Maria Esther Bueno was born on October 11, 1939, in São Paulo, and grew up across the street from a tennis club.

For years after retirement she was a commentator on Brazil's SporTV.

The keepers of Wimbledon tradition at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club were not amused and passed a stricter rule forbidding players to wear any color on the court other than white.

"I'm not good", she told The Associated Press after being named Female Athlete of the Year in 1959.

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