Legendary Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon and four USA championship singles titles, has died at the age of 78 after battling mouth cancer.
The Nove de Julho hospital confirmed Bueno's death on Friday and said she had been admitted for "oncological treatment".
Ms. Bueno was the first and so far the only female player from South America to win the Wimbledon singles title and is one of only eight women to win at least three championships at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The Brazilian tennis legend was nicknamed the "Tennis Ballerina" for the effortless grace she exhibited on court. She teamed with USA star Althea Gibson to win the women's doubles title at Wimbledon in 1958 - the first of her 19 victories in Grand Slam events, including seven singles championships, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles.
She also reached the final of the 1964 French Championships and the 1965 Australian Championships but lost to Margaret Court at Roland Garros and retired hurt against the Australian great at Kooyong.
On and off the court, Bueno "always showed a lot of fight", Brazilian tennis player Bia Haddad said.
"She was very courageous", her nephew Pedro Bueno told reporters. At 17, she left Brazil for the United States. These included Wimbledon singles titles in 1959, 1960 and 1964, and the US National Championship - precursor to today's US Open - in 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1966.
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 was an artist on the tennis court".
However, her career was hampered right at the start of the Open Era, when she suffered arm and leg injuries. But she returned to tennis years later and won her final tournament at the Japan Open in 1974.
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".
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