Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur receives Order of Merit

Tunisian Ons Jabeur has become the first Arab woman to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon. She was awarded the Order of Merit for her sporting successes.

Jabeur is considered a national treasure in Tunisia due to her tennis achievements during her career [source: Getty]

Tennis pioneer Ons Jabeur, who became the first African woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final, was honored by Tunisian President Kais Saied on Thursday for “her remarkable sporting achievements”.

Jabeur, 27, beaten in the Wimbledon final by Russia’s Elena Rybakina last weekend, was awarded the Grand Medal of the country’s National Order of Merit.

Saied hailed Jabeur for raising the country’s flag “high at international sporting events” and described her as “Tunisia’s ambassador”.

“Congratulations on this success and future successes.”

Jabeur, dubbed “minister of happiness” by Tunisian fans, said she hoped to inspire other Arab and African players to succeed in tennis.

“We want to give more hope to the young people watching us. We hope to continue this momentum. We are proud to be Tunisians and we will continue with this success story,” she said.

Kais Saied has been accused by critics of orchestrating a coup after assuming sweeping powers last year. He has since championed a new constitution for the North African country, which his opposition calls a “farce”.

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