Maria Bueno, the Only Latina Who Conquered Wimbledon

The Latina won Wimbledon on three different occasions. Here we tell you the story of this phenomenal athlete .

Maria Bueno, Brazilian tennis player

Wimbledon is a remarkably difficult court for Latinos to conquer. Photo: Hugo van Gelderen / Anefo

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Maria Bueno, la única latina que conquistó Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a remarkably difficult court for Latinos to conquer. This tournament that has been played on grass since 1877 has only seen one winner who was originally from Latin America . This is María Bueno, a Brazilian tennis player whose talent led her to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Here we tell you a little more about her.

The beginning of a great story

Bueno was born in Sao Paulo in 1939. Both of her parents played tennis. For this reason, from a young age, María was fully involved in the world of this sport . It is said that she started playing at the age of 6 and did not have a coach, but taught herself how to hit the ball.

If anything, it was evident from an early age that Maria was a tennis genius. She won her first tournament at age 12 in Sao Paulo and at 15 she was already the Brazilian women's champion .

Maria Bueno at Wimbledon

Maria joined the international tennis circuit in 1958. For a time, she played professionally around Europe, learning other languages during that time, as the only one she spoke was Portuguese. That year, she participated in Wimbledon but was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

In 1959, in just her second attempt, she would re-enter Wimbledon and win the championship , defeating Darlene Hard in the final with a score of 6-4, 6-3. With this victory, she would become the only person from Latin America to win this tournament in the individual category (male or female) in history. This record is held to this day.
"I'm not good, I'm afraid of everyone I play with," Bueno would say humbly on that occasion.

But it would not stop there. In 1960, Maria would repeat her feat at Wimbledon by defeating South African Sandra Reynolds 8-6, 6-0. By then, she was already an international celebrity.

However, in 1961, she had to be bedridden for 8 months from hepatitis , an affliction that undoubtedly affected her professional career.

After years of recovery, Bueno would return to Wimbledon in 1964, where she prevailed against Australian Margaret Smith with a score of 6-4, 7-9, 6-3. This would be the triumphant goodbye to her career, but the game would go down in history as a Wimbledon classic .

Also read: Copa America: The Best and Worst of the First Round

Bueno would never have the same results again. Her career in the next few years would be severely affected by injuries, particularly to his elbow . Her playing arm was so affected that Bueno couldn't pick grass with it. Doctors forced her to retire in 1969 , saying she would "never play again."

However, Bueno maintained her attitude and despite a long and painful rehabilitation process, she was able to return to the courts intermittently. Bueno would participate in several professional tournaments before finally retiring in 1977.

The Brazilian died in 2018 of lip cancer at 78 . The “Tennis Dancer” won three singles titles at Wimbledon and four US Opens, keeping her legend alive in Brazil, where she is still considered one of the best athletes in history.