Bob Hewitt explains ‘rape is enjoyable’ comment

Taking the stand for the first time, Hewitt says the comment was directed at his male students.

Bob Hewitt in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court where he faces charges of rape and indecent assault. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - In a bizarre statement in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge, former tennis champion Bob Hewitt said his comments about "rape being enjoyable" were not directed at his female students and he was referring to the matter in tennis terms.

When the defence failed to the throw the case out of court this morning, the 75-year-old took the stand and for the first time addressed the rape allegations made against him, which caused distress for his alleged victims who sobbed in the public gallery.

Three women claim he abused them while he was their tennis coach in the 1980s and 1990s. Hewitt faces two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

This week one of the alleged victims claimed when she was 14-years-old, Hewitt told her rape was enjoyable in all cases and that when he did it to her, she must just lie down and enjoy it.

Today Hewitt denied saying this to her, and said he made the comments to his male students.

He said through these comments he meant the students should not fear taking a bad shot in terms of tennis, but he realised it wasn't the right thing to say.

Hewitt has vehemently denied raping or sexually assaulting the women more than 30 years ago and is adamant they are lying.

Hewitt says he was closer to Theresa Tolken, one of his alleged victims, than any of his other tennis students. He says he felt sorry for her and believed she didn't have a good relationship with her father.

He therefore wanted to give her fatherly love, but says she had a bad attitude and he wanted to kick her out of the squad.

However, despite writing her several letters, he never once mentioned her bad attitude and assumed she had stopped lessons with him due to the rape charges laid against him.

COURT APPLICATION DISMISSED

An application to have Hewitt's rape case thrown out of the High Court sitting was dismissed earlier today.

His three alleged victims and their parents have concluded their testimony.

Suellen Sheehan, Tolken and a third alleged victim who has asked not be named earlier explained to the court how Hewitt took advantage of them when they were between the ages of 12 and 14.