South American Tennis Great Maria Bueno Dies at 78

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Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno passed away after a battle with mouth cancer, according to a statement by the hospital.

In 1960, she became the first female player to win a calendar year Grand Slam in doubles when she claimed the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles - each with different partners.

In 1959, Ms. Bueno became the first non-American in more than 20 years to win the women's title at Wimbledon, defeating Californian Darlene Hard in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

Bueno's last major title came in 1968 when she won the doubles title at the U.S. Open alongside Margaret Court — one of her biggest rivals in singles.

World No. 1 in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1966, Bueno was Brazil's best ever player, winning 19 Grand Slam titles.

Bueno was admitted to the Nove de Julho hospital in Sao Paulo in May.

As she received the award, she said: "I'm not good, I'm afraid of everyone I play".

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

She was labelled the "Sao Paulo Swallow" for her ability to dominate the net by former BBC Sport commentator John Barrett. In his authoritative Tennis Encyclopedia, Bud Collins called Ms. Bueno "incomparably balletic and flamboyant" and said she played "with breathtaking boldness and panache".

More recently, she was contributing to Brazilian television at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and other major tennis events. At 17, she left Brazil for the United States.

Bueno said men were key to her game.

"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".