Trial of disgraced tennis hero Bob Hewitt starts

2015-02-09 00:00

THE trial of disgraced Hall of Fame tennis champion Bob Hewitt is set to begin today at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

In 2013, Hewitt was charged with the rape and sexual assault of three women believed to have been molested by the star when they were coached by him as young girls.

The Witness contacted one of Hewitt’s ­victims, former tennis student Amanda ­Wienhold, who also came forward and alleged that she was sexually abused by Hewitt in 1994 when she was 16.

A man who answered the phone said ­Wienhold was not giving interviews.

“Is this about the Bob Hewitt thing? No, Amanda is not doing any interviews, she is trying to keep a low profile and she has been advised not to speak to the media,” said the man.

It was reported that he denied two charges of rape and one of sexual assault of girls he coached.

He is accused of raping a girl under the age of 16 in 1981, raping another girl under the age of 16 in 1982, and sexually assaulting a third girl under the age of 18 in 1994, all in South Africa. The first alleged offence is said to have occurred two years after Hewitt won the last of his 15 Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles.

Two of the alleged offences are said to have occurred in Boksburg and one in the Sun City.

At least one other woman in the United States has accused Hewitt of sexually abusing her when she was a minor.

The Australian-born Hewitt won nine Grand Slam doubles and six mixed doubles titles in the 1960s and 1970s, playing occasionally with former stars Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King.

He also reached the semi-finals of the men’s singles at the Australian Open three times and won the Davis Cup with South Africa in 1974 after moving to the country.

Hewitt was inducted into the Rhode Island-based Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992 as a master of the doubles craft.

He was indefinitely suspended from the hall in 2012 and his legacy stripped from the institution after an investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse, during which he was interviewed by attorneys hired by the hall.

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