Billie Jean King has led the tennis world's tributes to Maria Esther Bueno, who passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer, aged 78.
"Rest in peace, Maria Bueno," the American tweeted of her Brazilian former opponent and doubles partner. "I always looked forward to seeing Maria at Wimbledon and some of the major tournaments. She was the first superstar of South America and is 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 the court - the way she looked and especially the way she played. She had fans all over the world and will be missed."
Rest in Peace, Maria Bueno. pic.twitter.com/fp2nqAE2Ii
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 9, 2018
So sad to hear about the passing of the graceful and athletic Maria Bueno. The elegant and classy champion will certainly be missed in the tennis family. #RIPMaria
— Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) June 9, 2018
Bueno was a trailblazer for her nation, and the Brazilian players who followed her through the years all conveyed a gratitude for what she had done for tennis in their country. Current Brazilian No.1 Beatriz Haddad Maia, three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten, 1999 Roland Garros semifinalist Fernando Meligeni and current ATP players Thomaz Bellucci, Thiago Monteiro and Marcelo Melo all took to social media to say "obrigada" and "obrigado".
Que dia triste. Descanse em paz querida Maria Esther. O tênis deve muito a vc. Nos tenistas agradecemos tudo que vc fez e inspirou. pic.twitter.com/ZezjMY9xYs
— Fernando Meligeni (@meligeni) June 8, 2018
Bueno, who was the Wimbledon singles champion in 1959, 1960 and 1964 and who won the US Open in 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1966, is the most successful South American player in tennis history. The Brazilian also became the first woman to win all four doubles Grand Slam titles in one year in 1960, alongside Darlene Hard and Christine Truman.
Those tournaments also shared memories of the beloved champion on social media.
The All England Club is deeply saddened by the death of Maria Bueno, one of our most beloved champions.
Her humility, grace and inventive play captured hearts around the globe, no where more so than in her native Brazil where she is and will forever remain the pride of a nation. pic.twitter.com/B7AgZGui2W
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 9, 2018
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) June 9, 2018
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) June 9, 2018
We join the tennis world in paying tribute to Maria Bueno
South America's most successful female player, Maria was one of the most graceful and artistic players of her generation
She won 19 Grand Slam titles in a prolific career, including 7 in singles pic.twitter.com/VEaTZlB7CE
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) June 9, 2018
Tonight we remember a graceful and accomplished champion who leaves a lasting legacy of inspiration to generations of players in her native Brazil and beyond.
Our condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of Hall of Famer Maria Esther Bueno. pic.twitter.com/T2OPDv1bWT
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) June 9, 2018