Africa

Ex-tennis doubles star Bob Hewitt charged with rape

Bob Hewitt is seen outside the magistrates court in Boksburg, South Africa, on 6 June 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption Bob Hewitt was suspended from the Tennis Hall of Fame after allegations of sexual assault came to light

Former Grand Slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt has been charged with rape and sexual assault of minors at a court in South Africa, his lawyer says.

Mr Hewitt, who will go on trial in February 2015, has denied the three charges, Alwyn Griebenow told the Associated Press news agency.

The charges relate to his time coaching children in South Africa in the 1980s.

Mr Hewitt, 74, won nine Grand Slam doubles and six mixed doubles titles in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Australian-born former tennis star appeared at Boksburg Magistrate's Court, Johannesburg, for the first time on Friday.

He told the court he understood the charges, his lawyer told AP, adding that his client would plead not guilty to all three charges - two of rape and one of indecent assault - at his trial.

South African media report that Mr Hewitt appeared frail in court and was aided by a walking stick.