Tennis star hits out after collapse

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TWO DAYS before his fourth-round match against Tim Henman, Jim Courier has launched the first volley at the inadequacies of Wimbledon's "antiquated" medical facilities, writes Andrew Longmore.

The American, a former world number one and a finalist in 1993, became ill in the locker-room late on Friday evening after winning a four-and- a-half-hour marathon against Sjeng Schalken on court three.

But it was not until he was taken to a local hospital, 10 minutes away by car, that he was able to be put on an intravenous drip to ease his cramping.

Courier claimed that there are no IV facilities available in the medical room. "I'm just angry about it," he said. "It's too bad that the biggest tournament in the world has sub-par medical conditions for the players.

"It's the only tournament on the circuit - the only country we play in - where this is the case, from what our trainers tell us. I'd heard about this from other players, but they'd run into the same brick wall of conservatism. I just think it's antiquated."

A spokesman for the All England Club said that the club has the required facilities, but that the duty doctor, Peter Tudor-Miles, had not considered Courier's condition serious enough to need IV fluids. "Courier himself wanted to go to the hospital and be put on a drip," he said.