Bueno was known for her graceful style seen here at Wimbledon in 1968
12 June, 2018, 20:29
Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno passed away after a battle with mouth cancer, according to a statement by the hospital. 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".
Nicknamed "The Tennis Ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno was a former top-ranked player who spent most of her career on the court before the professional era.
World No. 1 in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966, Bueno was Brazil's best ever player, winning 19 Grand Slam titles. And although she once told reporters "I'm afraid of everyone I play", her glory days were only just beginning.
Bueno was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978. She attributed her speed on the court to having trained with men.
She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson. 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.
For years after retirement she was a commentator on Brazil's SporTV.
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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.
Born in Sao Paulo, Bueno started playing tennis at the age of 6 and entered her first tournament at 11.
"There was a gasp from one end of the court", Bueno recalled years later. "And the people at the other end didn't know why, until I changed ends and served from there". She went to the United States of America at the age of 17 to take her career to a higher level and had a strong determination to improve every single element of her game until she retired.
"She had this fantastic brooding character, the impression of an imminent storm", Tinling told Sports Illustrated in 1969, "and I had to illustrate that in some way".
"Later I wore panties that resembled the club colors, which outraged the club committee and they brought in the all-white clothing rule".
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