Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Legendary Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno dies

Maria Bueno won Wimbledon for the first time in 1959 at the age of 19 Maria Bueno won Wimbledon for the first time in 1959 at the age of 19 Credit AP
Sidney Guerrero | 12 June, 2018, 20:29

Maria Bueno, the Brazilian "queen" of tennis, who won three Wimbledon and four USA championship singles titles, died Friday in Sao Paulo at age 78, the hospital where she was being treated said.

Ms. Bueno, who spent most of her competing as an amateur, held the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966.

Bueno won 19 major titles during her career in the 1950s and 60s, including three Wimbledon singles titles and four United States championships.

The victor of 19 Grand Slam titles - seven in singles, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles - Bueno was nicknamed the tennis ballerina for her elegant playing style.

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

The president of the Brazilian Tennis Confederation, Rafael Westrupp, said Bueno was "the biggest name in Brazilian tennis" and the sport was "in mourning". And although she once told reporters "I'm afraid of everyone I play", her glory days were only just beginning.

Bueno said men were key to her game. She reached the finals at Wimbledon two more times, only to lose to Court in 1965 and to Billie Jean King in 1966.

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An arm injury forced her out of competition from 1969 to 1974.

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

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

Off the court, Bueno also had an interest in fashion and played in dresses tailored by English couturier Ted Tinling.

"Later I wore panties that resembled the club colors, which outraged the club committee and they brought in the all-white clothing rule".

One tennis writer, John Barrett, called her "the elegant queen of Brazilian tennis". "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.

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