(CNN)With the colossal Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, there will almost be a sense of the miraculous when Teliana Pereira steps out on the brand new courts at the Olympic Games.
Getting to the top of your sport is never easy, regardless of your circumstances.
But when your circumstances involve a struggle for basic essentials, the idea of a professional career in tennis could seem unlikely — especially as it costs an estimated $385,000 to turn pro.
The 28-year-old player, who last year became the first Brazilian woman to win a WTA title since 1988, was born in Pernambuco — a poor, rural state in the country’s northeast.
One of seven siblings, one of Pereira’s sister died as a baby due to dehydration. Sometimes, the family struggled to put food on the table.