Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno dies at 78

Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno dies at 78

Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon singles titles, has died aged 78 following a battle with mouth cancer.

The three-time Wimbledon victor died on Friday, three days after being admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo with mouth cancer.

Bueno was admitted to the Nove de Julho hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, and the hospital released a statement confirming her death on Friday.

However, her career was cut short by elbow problems, which she blamed on the heavy rackets used in the sport at the time.

The victor of 19 Grand Slam titles - seven in singles, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles - Bueno was nicknamed the tennis ballerina for her elegant playing style.

Always smiling in her television appearances, Bueno continued playing until past year, when she was stricken by disease.

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Known for her stylishness and her exciting way of playing, she was the first South American woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.

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

"I think what she did on the court — with courage and determination — is what she did with the illness until the end, until the last days", he said.

Overall she won 19 Grand Slam titles, seven in singles, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles, between 1959 and 1966.

Maria later went on to become the first non-American woman to win the Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season.

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

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