South American Tennis Great Maria Bueno Dies at 78

Maria Bueno has been widely considered as the greatest South American player of all time, winning 19 Grand Slam titles in total and having been ranked number 1 four times, has died in Sao Paolo at the age of 78 after losing the battle with cancer. The hospital released a statement on Friday afternoon confirming her death, but declined to provide more details out of respect for her family. The Brazilian "queen" of tennis, who won three Wimbledon and four USA championship singles titles, died Friday, June 8, 2018, in Sao Paulo.

The Brazilian tennis legend was nicknamed the "Tennis Ballerina" for the effortless grace she exhibited on court. She won her first major title as a 19-year-old, winning the 1959 Wimbledon.

The president of the Brazilian Tennis Confederation, Rafael Westrupp, said Bueno was "the biggest name in Brazilian tennis" and the sport was "in mourning". "She helped lay the groundwork for what was to come", King told Bueno's website in 2009.

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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"She was an artist on the tennis court". She was voted female athlete of the year in a nationwide poll of sportswriters conducted by The Associated Press. 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.

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

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. At 17, she left Brazil for the United States.

"There was a gasp from one end of the court", Ms. Bueno later recalled. "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.

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