Former doubles champion Bob Hewitt expelled from Hall of Fame

(Reuters) - Disgraced former grand slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt has been expelled from the International Tennis Hall of Fame due to his 2015 conviction for rape and sexual assault in South Africa. The Australian-born Hewitt, 76, was sentenced to six years in prison last May after being found guilty of assaulting three underage girls he was coaching in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. "The expulsion is a result of a conviction against Hewitt on two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault," the Hall of Fame said in a statement on Wednesday. "The conviction was issued by a South African court in March 2015, and the appellate courts have now denied the right to further appeals of the conviction." The allegations first surfaced in 2011. Hewitt was inducted in 1992 and was indefinitely suspended from the Newport, Rhode Island-based Hall of Fame in 2012. Upon his suspension, Hewitt's plaque and all references to him at the Hall of Fame were removed. Hewitt was a doubles and mixed doubles champion at all four grand slam events, winning seven Wimbledon titles. He also reached the semi-finals of the men's singles at the Australian Open three times, and won the Davis Cup with South Africa in 1974. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford)