Wimbledon `99: Courier slams medical service

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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. The American, a former world No 1 and a finalist here in 1993, became ill in the locker-room late on Friday evening after he had won 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 were no IV facilities available in the medical room.

"I'm just angry about it," Courier said. "It's too bad that the biggest tournament in the world has sub-par medical conditions for the players."

Courier's condition was compounded by a heavy cold and it was not until he had walked off court that his body began to cramp up. "I realised that I was in trouble then," he added. "I know my body well and I know when I'm going to start cramping, so we ended up having to go to a hospital to get an IV.

"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 before but they'd run into the same brickwall of conservatism. I just think it's antiquated, that's all."

A spokesman for the All England Club later said that they had the required facilities but that the duty doctor, Peter Tudor-Miles, had not considered Courier's condition serious enough for IV fluids. "Courier himself wanted to go to the hospital and be put on a drip," he said. Though still troubled by a heavy cold, Courier said he would be fit for tomorrow's meeting with Henman, a repeat of the epic five-set match which Courier won in the Davis Cup in March. "I'll be ready when the time comes," Courier said.

Courier interview, page 4