Maria Bueno, a Brazilian tennis great who won three Wimbledon singles titles and four at the U.S. Open in the 1950s and 1960s, and helped usher in modern women's tennis, has died after battling mouth cancer. The Brazilian "queen" of tennis, who won three Wimbledon and four U.S. championship singles titles, died Friday, June 8, 2018, in Sao Paulo.
Born in the city of Sao Paulo, Maria Esther Bueno made history as the first South American woman to win the Wimbledon singles title. She also reached the singles final at both the Australian Open and the French Open.
Bueno then took her first Wimbledon singles title in 1959, along with the United States championship title, becoming the world number one and earning her the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award.
She had been suffering from mouth cancer since previous year and was hospitalized in May. She had been suffering from mouth cancer since past year and was hospitalized in May.
In 1965, Bueno again won the Wimbledon doubles title, this time with tennis partner Billie Jean King.
However, her career was hampered right at the start of the Open Era, when she suffered arm and leg injuries.
The Nove de Julho hospital confirmed Bueno's death on Friday and said she had been admitted for "oncological treatment".
A self-taught prodigy, she brought grace to the game and was a dominant force, BBC Americas editor Leonardo Rocha writes.
She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson. But she returned to tennis years later and won her final tournament at the Japan Open in 1974.
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.
Maria Esther Andion Bueno was born October 11, 1939, in Sao Paulo. She went to the U.S. 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. "I had a lot of natural talent, but I had to work hard too", she told The Times.
The keepers of Wimbledon tradition at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club were not amused and passed a stricter rule forbidding players to wear any color on the court other than white.