It is a triumphant comeback home for Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the first African woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final. She was accompanied by her husband and her trainer at the presidential palace in Carthage, Thursday. There, she was awarded the country’s Great Medal of the National Order of Merit.
President Kaies Saied hailed the tennis trailblazer for wearing the national colours "in international sporting events".
"Congratulations on this success and future successes, the President said. You are an example for young Tunisians and for the Tunisian woman who rises up to all challenges."
27-year-old Jabeur came out strongly in Wimbledon Saturday, dominating the opening set, but her opponent Elena Rybakina fought her way back, forcing a decider then closing out the match. Still, Jaber wants to inspire Arab and African players.
"This makes us proud as Tunisians. We want to give more hope to the young people who watch us. We hope to continue this momentum. We are proud to be Tunisians and we will continue with this success story."
Upon her arrival in Tunis after the Wimbledon tennis championships in London Wednesday, the player who is nicknamed "Minister of Happiness" by fans in Tunisia mingled with the crowd.
Now, Jabeur sets her eyes on the U.S. Open trophy.