Tennis

Brazil's Teliana Pereira: From poverty to WTA champion

Published 1043 GMT (1843 HKT) July 26, 2016
Share
Teliana Pereira TennisTeliana Pereira Tennis
1 of 6
In 2015, Teliana Pereira became the first Brazilian woman to win a WTA Tour title since 1988. Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
The 28-year-old was beaten by Serena Williams in the second round of this year's French Open, matching her best ever performance at a grand slam. Julian Finney/Getty Images
She was born in Pernambuco -- a poor, rural state in the northeast of Brazil. One of seven siblings, Pereira said another sister died as a baby due to dehydration. Sometimes, the family struggled to put food on the table. Julian Finney/Getty Images
"It was a really small house and we had to start to work [at] 4 years [old]," she told CNN's Open Court. "It's really hard to grow up. We don't have facilities. We don't have schools. They don't have money so it's really complicated." THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images
Now the No. 1. female player in Brazil, Pereira's future might have been very different indeed if her family hadn't moved to Curitiba in the wealthier south, "just to have a better life." Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Step by step she climbed the rankings and, in 2013, Pereira became Brazil's first woman to reach the top 100 since 1990. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images