Brazilian great Bueno dies aged 78

Brazilian great Bueno dies aged 78

Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno, who dominated the women's game in the late 1950s and for much of the 1960s, has died at the age of 78 after a battle with mouth cancer.

Born in the city of Sao Paulo, Maria Esther Bueno made history as the first South American woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.

She won her first major title at Wimbledon in 1959, when she was 19.

The mouth cancer was discovered past year and her condition became serious a few days ago when she was transferred to the 9 de Julho Hospital in Sao Paulo.

As she received the award, she said: "I'm not good, I'm afraid of everyone I play".

"She was the reigning queen of tennis in her day", King, who won the 1965 Wimbledon doubles championship with Ms. Bueno as her partner, told the New York Times in 1987. She was sidelined between 1969 and 1974 by severe cramps and pain in her right arm that required multiple operations, a problem she attributed to putting too many demands on herself.

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Bueno was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966.

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. She was voted female athlete of the year in a nationwide poll of sportswriters conducted by The Associated Press.

Bueno was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.

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.

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.

Retiring from the sport in 1977, she became a commentator herself for the Brazilian channel SporTV. "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.

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