Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies after cancer battle

Shannon Reynolds | 12 June, 2018, 20:30

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 said that it would not release any more details on the passing of Bueno out of respect for her family.

Bueno then took her first Wimbledon singles title in 1959, along with the USA championship title, becoming the world number one and earning her the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award.

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

Brazilian tennis star Beatriz Haddad Maia said that Bueno "always showed a lot of fight", both on and off the courts.

"She was very courageous", her nephew Pedro Bueno told reporters.

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

Injuries and illness shortened her career, including spending eight months in bed in 1961 because of hepatitis.

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

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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.

Her last major title came in 1968 when she won the doubles title at the U.S. Open alongside Margaret Court - one of her biggest rivals in singles. But she returned to tennis years later and won her final tournament at the Japan Open in 1974.

Maria Esther Andion Bueno was born October 11, 1939, in Sao Paulo.

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

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".

Retiring from the sport in 1977, she became a commentator herself for the Brazilian channel SporTV.

"She had this fantastic brooding character, the impression of an imminent storm", Tinling told Sports Illustrated in 1969, "and I had to illustrate that in some way".

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