Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

US Open condoles death of Maria Bueno

She had oral cancer.

Nicknamed the "tennis ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978. 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".

Maria later went on to become the first non-American woman to win the Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season. A New York Times reporter marveled at Ms. Bueno's "fluent and nearly flawless performance" and her "catlike coverage" of the court.

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Maria Bueno after winning the women's singles final at Wimbledon in 1959.

She successfully defended her Wimbledon crown the following year and claimed back-to-back US Nationals titles in 1963-64.

In 1964, Ms. Bueno lost to Court at the French Open, but the two met again in the Wimbledon finals, with Ms. Bueno leaping for joy after winning in three sets, 6-4, 7-9, 6-3.

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He added: "She fought until the end, 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".

In 1965, Bueno again won the Wimbledon doubles title, this time with tennis partner Billie Jean King.

Maria Esther Bueno was born on October 11, 1939, in São Paulo, and grew up across the street from a tennis club. "She played tennis until the very last moment". She learned the sport from her father, a veterinarian and businessman, and from reading books about tennis. At 17, she left Brazil for the United States.

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Despite having no formal coaching in her teenage years, she swept the Brazilian scene before gaining worldwide acclaim by winning the Italian Championships in 1958, beating the best English and Australian players. 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.

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