Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Brazil tennis great Maria Bueno buried

Brazil tennis great Maria Bueno buried

Nicknamed "The Tennis Ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno won seven grand slam titles in the 1950s and 1960s and was South America's most successful player.

She had been suffering from mouth cancer since previous year and was hospitalized in May.

One of Ms. Bueno's outfits was lined in shocking pink, and whenever she leaned down to begin her serve, spectators tittered over the flash of forbidden color.

However, her career was shortened by elbow problems, which she blamed on the heavy wooden rackets of the time.

Bueno was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966 and was the first non-American woman to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season. A national hero in her native Brazil, Bueno also had a special flair that probably cannot be taught.

Another doubles partner was Billie Jean King, with whom she won the Wimbledon title in 1965.

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Bueno was also a prolific doubles player, claiming women's titles at all four of the grand slams from 1958-68 and a mixed doubles championship at Roland Garros in 1960. "She played tennis until the very last moment". She was voted female athlete of the year in a nationwide poll of sportswriters conducted by The Associated Press.

One tennis writer, John Barrett, called her "the elegant queen of Brazilian tennis".

Bueno passed away at the 9 de Julho hospital here, where she had been admitted several days earlier, doctors and family members said on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Her death was announced on her official website and by the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

President of the Brazilian Tennis Confederation Rafael Westrupp said that Bueno was "the biggest name in Brazilian tennis" and the sport was "in mourning". "And the people at the other end didn't know why, until I changed ends and served from there".

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