Three-time Wimbledon singles champion Maria Bueno has died in a Sao Paulo hospital at the age of 78.
The Brazilian, who had been suffering from cancer, is South America’s most successful female player, having also won the US Open four times.
Bueno, who was born in Sao Paulo, first won the Wimbledon singles title in 1959 when she beat Darlene Hard in the final and secured her first US Open crown later the same year against Christine Truman, earning the World No. 1 ranking for 1959.
Her other SW19 singles triumphs came in 1960 when she beat South Africa’s Sandra Reynolds and in 1964 when winning against the defending champion Margaret Smith. She won further US Open titles in 1963, 1964 and 1966.
She won five Wimbledon women’s doubles titles, including one with Billie Jean King in 1965.
King said: “I always looked forward to seeing Maria at Wimbledon and some of the other major tournaments. She was the first superstar of South America and she was revered there.
“She was a huge influence on my career, and for many players from my generation, she was the one we all looked up to. I had the privilege of winning a Wimbledon doubles title with her in 1965.
“She was very elegant on court – the way she looked and especially the way she played. She had fans all over the world and will be missed.”
Bueno was always glamorous in dresses styled for her by couturier Ted Tinling. She retired in 1977, becoming a tennis commentator. She was inducted into the tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.