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Bob Hewitt denies writing ‘love letters’ to rape accuser

He says the letters he wrote to Theresa Tolken were to show her fatherly love & build her confidence.

Bob Hewitt walks into Court room after lunch break. Picture : Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former tennis champion Bob Hewitt has denied writing love letters to one of his rape accusers during cross-examination in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge this morning.

Three women claim he abused them while he was their tennis coach in the 1980s and 1990s.

He faces two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

State prosecutor Carina Coetzee has pointed out that Hewitt wrote the word love eight times in a letter addressed to Theresa Tolken.

Tolken, who was 13 at the time, claims Hewitt, who was her tennis coach, made her touch him inappropriately and raped her.

Hewitt says in the letters, he was trying to show her fatherly love and wanted to build up her confidence in terms of her tennis career.

He also says if he had had sex with her, she would have had to be hospitalised, but says this didn't happen and the letters he wrote were innocent.

Hewitt says he was closer to Tolken than any of his other tennis students, adding that 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.

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

Meanwhile, the former tennis star's wife has taken the witness stand to defend him against the charges.

Delaille Hewitt claims she never saw her husband being inappropriate with his female tennis students.

She says she often watched her husband coaching tennis at their home and never found that he behaved inappropriately.

She says she played a match against Tolken at the time and lost, adding that she was irritated that the young girl jumped all over her husband in excitement.

'RAPE IS ENJOYABLE'

Earlier this week, in a bizarre statement, the former tennis champion 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, 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.

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.

On Thursday, 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.