Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Maria Bueno, Brazilian Tennis Star Who Reigned Over 1960s, Dies at 78

Maria Bueno, Brazilian Tennis Star Who Reigned Over 1960s, Dies at 78

Upon her death, the country's president, Michel Temer, said Bueno "will always be remembered as the No. 1 of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians". Bueno won three Wimbledon singles titles and four at the US Open in the 1950s and 1960s.

Bueno then took her first Wimbledon singles title in 1959, along with the USA championship title, becoming the world number one and earning her the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award. She also reached the singles final at both the Australian Open and the French Open. "She helped lay the groundwork for what was to come", King told Bueno's website in 2009.

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

In 1959, Ms. Bueno became the first non-American in more than 20 years to win the women's title at Wimbledon, defeating Californian Darlene Hard in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. In his authoritative Tennis Encyclopedia, Bud Collins called Ms. Bueno "incomparably balletic and flamboyant" and said she played "with breathtaking boldness and panache".

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.

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

"She was an artist on the tennis court".

Her one major title of the open era, when big tournaments opened to professionals, was the 1968 U.S. Open doubles alongside Australian legend Margaret Court.

She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson.

For years after retirement she was a commentator on Brazil's SporTV. "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.

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