Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies after battle with cancer

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.

That same year she went on to win the Wimbledon doubles alongside American Althea Gibson.

Bueno was the dominant figure in women's tennis in the decade prior to the Open era and she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978 after winning 65 singles and 90 doubles crowns. She won her first major title as a 19-year-old, winning the 1959 Wimbledon.

She swept the Brazilian scene, then the Caribbean circuit, and grabbed global attention by winning the Italian Championships in 1958, beating the best English and Australian players.

In 1965, Bueno again won the Wimbledon doubles title, this time with tennis partner Billie Jean King.

An arm injury forced her out of competition from 1969 to 1974.

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Bueno was admitted to the Nove de Julho hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, and the hospital released a statement confirming her death on Friday. She was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1959, 1960, 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.

Bueno was a consultant for several years for Sportv and commented on matches with Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten, the other Brazilian tennis legend. She was voted female athlete of the year in a nationwide poll of sportswriters conducted by The Associated Press.

Maria Esther Andion Bueno was born October 11, 1939, in Sao Paulo.

"There was a gasp from one end of the court", Ms. Bueno later recalled. At 17, she left Brazil for the United States.

"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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