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More witnesses to testify in Bob Hewitt’s rape trial

Three women have claimed that Hewitt sexually abused them while he was their tennis coach.

FILE: Bob Hewitt’s (L) rape trial continues in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former tennis champion Bob Hewitt's rape trial is expected to continue in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court this morning with his lawyers calling more witnesses to the stand.

The 75-year-old has denied allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Three women have claimed that Hewitt sexually abused them while he was their tennis coach between 1980 and 1990.

Hewitt's legal team has indicated they want to subpoena at least four more witnesses to testify before they close their case.

Hewitt's defence team has called a journalist to testify about an article he wrote about one of his alleged victims in which she claimed she never had sex with the former tennis champion.

Suellen Sheehan who has accused Hewitt of rape was interviewed in 2011 by The Weekend Post's Shaun Gillham.

She is one of the women who had claimed Hewitt raped her more than 30 years ago.

Gillham says he spoke to Sheehan in 2011 and quotes her saying she was approached by Hewitt when she was nine and was sexually harassed.

In an article Gillham says she claimed she never had sex with the former tennis champion but the state says there is a difference between sex and rape.

Gillham also admitted he never verified information that Hewitt had Alzheimer's but added it to his story for colour.

Some of the other witnesses to be called by Hewitt's legal team include Sheehan's parents.

Hewitt testified last week that her parents have supported him and they don't believe their daughter.

The former tennis champion has denied raping or sexually assaulting his young students but has admitted that the letters he wrote one of them were inappropriate.

In a bizarre statement made last week, Hewitt said comments he made about "rape being enjoyable" were not directed at his female students and he was referring to the matter in tennis terms.

The prosecutor tried to find out why Hewitt would joke about rape, when at the time he had been charged with rape, but Hewitt couldn't explain.