Australian-born former tennis Grand Slam champion Bob Hewitt has been sentenced to six years in jail in South Africa for raping and assaulting young girls he coached in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hewitt, 75, had pleaded not guilty to the two charges of rape and one of sexual assault that were brought against him by three women in 2013.
Hewitt won numerous Grand Slam doubles titles during his career in the 1960s and 1970s and was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.
But his name was removed from the hall of fame in 2012, following sexual abuse allegations.
“The effective period of imprisonment is six years,” Judge Bert Bam told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday after delivering separate sentences for the three crimes.
Bam said that if Hewitt had been aged 50 when he was convicted he would have been sentenced to 20 years in jail, adding that Hewitt was solely to blame for his fate.
Earlier Delaille Hewitt pleaded for the judge not to send her husband to jail.
“I have never had to beg before but I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to please let my husband return to the farm as I could not survive without him,” she said, sobbing with grief.
Hewitt was born in Dubbo, Australia, but has spent much of his life in South Africa.
The former champion has also been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse in the US where he once lived.