Brazilian tennis great Bueno dies

Maria Bueno won Wimbledon for the first time in 1959 at the age of 19

Maria Bueno, the Brazilian "queen" of tennis, who won three Wimbledon and four US championship singles titles, died Friday in Sao Paulo at age 78, the hospital where she was being treated said.

Following the death of Former World No. 1, Maria Esther Bueno, the US Open on Saturday offered its condolences to the family of the tennis legend.

The victor 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.

Bueno was also a prolific doubles player, claiming women's titles at all four of the grand slams from 1958-68 and a mixed doubles championship at Roland Garros in 1960. She also reached the singles final at both the Australian Open and the French Open.

"She was very courageous", her nephew Pedro Bueno said.

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

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.

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".

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Another doubles partner was Billie Jean King, with whom she won the Wimbledon title in 1965.

Born in Sao Paulo, Bueno started playing tennis at the age of 6 and entered her first tournament at 11.

One tennis writer, John Barrett, called her "the elegant queen of Brazilian tennis". She later became a leading tennis commentator on Brazilian television. 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.

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.

"There was a gasp from one end of the court", Ms. Bueno later recalled.

"I'm not good", she told The Associated Press after being named Female Athlete of the Year in 1959.

Thomaz Bellucci said she was "a pioneer in our country, where few people knew the sport and at a time when everything was much more difficult".

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.

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