Maria Esther Andion Bueno died on 8 June 2018 at the age of 78 in São Paulo, where she was born. She was a Brazilian professional tennis player and won 19 Grand Slam titles (seven in women’s singles, 11 in women’s doubles, and one in mixed doubles), making her the most successful South American female tennis player in history. She is in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and was the year-end number-one ranked female player in 1959 and 1960, despite not using a coach. She was described as an “incomparably balletic and flamboyant” player who loved serving hard and approaching the net to volley.
Maria Esther was one of the most famous Brazilian athletes in the United Kingdom as:
• She won 8 Wimbledon titles: 3 singles and 5 doubles titles.
• She gave tennis lessons to Prince William and Prince Harry when they were children.
• She was considered one of the sport’s biggest fashion icons, and was much loved on at the Wimbledon Centre Court for her combination of skill, elegance and athleticism.
After retirement, she was a shrewd tennis commentator on SporTV. Despite 20 operations due to arm and leg injuries, she continued active until recently, playing regularly at the Harmonia club in São Paulo and closely followed the professional tennis circuit.
Further information can be found on Wimbledon’s website: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2016-08-16/from_the_archive_maria_bueno_pride_of_brazil.html