Sport

Brazilian tennis great Bueno dies

Brazilian tennis great Bueno dies”

Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno, who helped usher in modern women's tennis, was buried Saturday in her home town shortly after a wake was held for her at the Sao Paulo state Governor's Palace.

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

Nicknamed "The Tennis Ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno won seven grand slam titles in the 1950s and 1960s and was South America's most successful player.

"She was very courageous", her nephew Pedro Bueno said. She was bedridden for eight months by hepatitis she contracted in 1961 and she had knee surgery in 1965.

Bueno said men were key to her game.

She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson.

Bueno and Court faced each other in five major finals, with Bueno winning two of them.

For years after retirement she was a commentator on Brazil's SporTV.

Her one major title of the open era, when big tournaments opened to professionals, was the 1968 U.S. Open doubles alongside Australian legend Margaret Court.

Off the court, Bueno also had an interest in fashion and played in dresses tailored by English couturier Ted Tinling.

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

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

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".

"She had this fantastic brooding character, the impression of an imminent storm", Tinling told Sports Illustrated in 1969, "and I had to illustrate that in some way".



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