Brazilian tennis great Maria Bueno dies after battle with cancer

Bueno during a tennis exhibition match on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro in 2005

The three-time Wimbledon victor died on Friday, three days after being admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo with mouth cancer.

Nicknamed "The Tennis Ballerina" because of her graceful style, Bueno was a former top-ranked player who spent most of her career on the court before the professional era. "I'd only take two rackets to a tournament and the prize for winning Wimbledon was a £15 voucher", she said in a 2015 interview with YouTube channel Esporte Ponto Final. Brazilian President Michel Temer, writing on his official account, said Bueno "will always be remembered as the number one of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians".

Brazilian tennis star Maria Bueno has passed away at the age of 78.

FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian great Maria Esther Bueno, victor of 19 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles from 1959-68, plays during a tennis exhibition on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 10, 2005.

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One tennis writer, John Barrett, called her "the elegant queen of Brazilian tennis".

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. She was the first non-American woman to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same season.

Bueno was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.

"We used to train together, travel together and played mixed doubles in the Pan-American Games, Roland Garros and other tournaments in Europe", he told reporters.

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