Bob Hewitt, one of the greatest doubles players in the world (he won 15 Grand Slam mixed doubles and doubles tournaments) is facing allegations of sexual abuse from women he coached in the United States and South Africa from 1970-1990.
Hewitt, a South African, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992. Last year, 5 women came forward with claims of sexual abuse. The Hall of Fame initially chose not to investigate these claims - a decision that was strongly criticized by the tennis community. Billie Jean King, who won the 1970 French Open mixed doubles trophy with Hewitt, stated, “I am very upset, and he needs to be in jail. If he’s guilty, which it looks like he is, he should be on trial.”
While the statute of limitations to bring criminal charges against Hewitt has expired in America, there is no statute of limitations in South America. On Tuesday, The Hall of Fame announced that it has hired Boston law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder to investigate the allegations and present its findings to the board of directors by the end of the month. The board will decide whether or not to suspend or expel Hewitt from the Hall of Fame - an action that has never been taken before.
One victim, Heather Crowe Conner, (who was 15 in 1976 when she said Hewitt first had sex with her outside Masconomet Regional High School) hopes that Hewitt will be expelled. She commented, “For him, the abuse might have ended with his tennis career. For the rest of us, the impact of that abuse continues to play itself out in our lives every day.’’
Hewitt has not spoken publicly about the case since last year, when he told the Boston Globe, “I just want to forget about it,’’ and was quoted by the Weekend Post in South Africa as saying, “I only want to apologize if I offended anyone in any way.’’