Maria Bueno: Brazilian star of 1960s women's tennis dies

Maria Bueno has been widely considered as the greatest South American player of all time, winning 19 Grand Slam titles in total and having been ranked number 1 four times, has died in Sao Paolo at the age of 78 after losing the battle with cancer.

The Brazilian tennis legend was nicknamed the "Tennis Ballerina" for the effortless grace she exhibited on court.

She won her first major title at Wimbledon in 1959, when she was 19.

The president of the Brazilian Tennis Confederation, Rafael Westrupp, said Bueno was "the biggest name in Brazilian tennis" and the sport was "in mourning".

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

A tweet posted on the official Tennis Hall of Fame account referred to Bueno as an "accomplished champion who leaves a lasting legacy of inspiration to generations".

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. She reached the finals at Wimbledon two more times, only to lose to Court in 1965 and to Billie Jean King in 1966.

Maria Esther Bueno was born on October 11, 1939, in São Paulo, and grew up across the street from a tennis club.

Bueno's career took a downturn as the Open era started in 1968 because of arm and leg injuries.

Off the court, Bueno also had an interest in fashion and played in dresses tailored by English couturier Ted Tinling. "And the people at the other end didn't know why, until I changed ends and served from there".

Retiring from the sport in 1977, she became a commentator herself for the Brazilian channel SporTV.

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

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