Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies

Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno, who dominated the women`s game in the late 1950s and for much of the 1960s, has died at the age of 78 after a battle with mouth cancer.

Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies
Twitter@Wimbledon

Sao Paulo: Brazilian tennis legend Maria Bueno, who dominated the women`s game in the late 1950s and for much of the 1960s, has died at the age of 78 after a battle with mouth cancer.

Bueno passed away at the 9 de Julho hospital here, where she had been admitted several days earlier, doctors and family members said on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The winner of 19 Grand Slam titles -- seven in singles, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles -- Bueno was nicknamed the tennis ballerina for her elegant playing style.

In 1960, she became the first female player to win a calendar year Grand Slam in doubles when she claimed the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles -- each with different partners.

But she rated the 1959 Wimbledon singles title as her greatest career achievement.

"I came from Brazil, where there were only clay courts and we didn`t have any opportunities to practice on grass," she said in an interview with the WTA.

"So to win for the first time on grass was a big surprise."

In 1978, Bueno became the first South American to be inducted into the tennis Hall of Fame. She has since been joined by Argentina`s Gabriela Sabatini and compatriot Gustavo Kuerten.

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