Sports

Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies

Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies

Maria Bueno, a Brazilian tennis star who was one of top players of the 1950s and 1960s, with three singles titles at Wimbledon and four at the U.S. Open, died June 8 at a hospital in Sao Paulo. The hospital released a statement on Friday afternoon confirming her death, but declined to provide more details out of respect for her family.

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".

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

She also got to the finals of the French championship in 1964 and the Australian in 1965.

Brazilian President Michel Temer tweeted that Bueno "will always be remembered as the number one of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians". And although she once told reporters "I'm afraid of everyone I play", her glory days were only just beginning. She went to the US at the age of 17 to take her career to a higher level and had a strong determination to improve every single element of her game until she retired. These included Wimbledon singles titles in 1959, 1960 and 1964, and the US National Championship - precursor to today's US Open - in 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1966.

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A self-taught prodigy, she brought grace to the game and was a dominant force, BBC Americas editor Leonardo Rocha writes. Bueno essentially retired after the 1977 season although she did play in mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1980. She later became a leading tennis commentator on Brazilian television.

Her one major title of the open era, when big tournaments opened to professionals, was the 1968 U.S. Open doubles alongside Australian legend Margaret Court.

In 1962, designer Ted Tinling created several outfits for Ms. Bueno with colored skirt linings and underpants, in violation of a Wimbledon rule that players dress entirely in white.

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


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