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English: Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno at a tournament in Hilversum, The Netherlands (1964) Nederlands: Original: Tennis te Hilversum Maria Bueno tijdens de wedstrijd Date 23 July 1964 (Wikipedia Commons. Author: Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo)

Brazilian Tennis Star Maria Bueno Dies At 78 After Battle With Cancer

Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon singles trophies, died on Friday in her native São Paulo. She was 78.

Maria Bueno Dies At 78

Bueno had received treatment for oral cancer after being diagnosed in 2016. Throughout her career, she won 19 Grand Slam championships, seven of them in singles, between 1958 and 1968. Bueno was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.

According to her website, she won 589 tournaments.

Bueno reached the singles final at the French Open, where a brief tribute to her was shown before the women’s championship game in Paris on Saturday.

“She was the reigning queen of tennis in her day,” Billie Jean King told The New York Times in 1987 after playing Bueno in an exhibition doubles match at Madison Square Garden. “She just projected well and was so graceful with long, flowing strokes. She had all the things that people liked in a champion.”

Bueno carried the Olympic torch in São Paulo before the 2016 Summer Games.

One of the first titles Bueno took was the United Staes Nationals, a precursor to the U.S. Open. Her final major championship victory came in 1968, when she won the doubles trophy after playing alongside Margaret Court, one of her fiercest rivals.

Bueno was also known for causing surprise among fans in 1962 when she was discovered to have been wearing pink underwear after her skirt flew up during a match. The all-white clothing rule was introduced after that incident.

Bueno eventually worked as a tennis commentator in Brazil. Brazilian president Michel Temer said of the legend: “Maria Bueno will always be remembered as the No. 1 of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians.”

According to The Guardian, Bueno was also a polyglot, and ended up learning to speak five languages fluently.

The center court at Rio’s Olympic Tennis Centre was named after her in 2015. Buneo is survived by her nephew Pedro.

 

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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