Tennis Hall of Fame investigates abuse claim

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- A South African attorney who represents women who accuse a tennis champion of sexually abusing them when they were girls has welcomed moves by the International Tennis Hall of Fame to investigate Bob Hewitt.

Peter van Niekerk, speaking to The Associated Press Wednesday, added that he and some of the women he represents already have spoken with a Boston attorney the U.S.-based Hall hired to investigate the allegations. The inquiry could result in expulsion or suspension from the Hall for Hewitt, who played in the 1960s and 1970s and was inducted into the Hall in 1992.

Attempts to reach the Australian-born Hewitt, who lives in South Africa, were not immediately successful.

Van Niekerk became involved in the case because he also is a director of a South African organization that lobbies on behalf of child abuse victims. Van Niekerk says a criminal investigation into the allegations against Hewitt has moved slowly.