Spain’s Nicolas Almagro strongly denied suggestions of a money-grab after he lasted just 23 minutes at the Australian Open before retiring on Monday.
Almagro threw in the towel with a calf injury at 4-0 down in the first set against France’s Jeremy Chardy, but walked away with a Aus$ 50,000 ($37,400) cheque as a first-round loser.
Australian doubles legend Todd Woodbridge, a TV commentator, ignited a debate when he said: “Questions to be asked. Did (Almagro) just turn up to take money?”
But according to the Melbourne Herald Sun, Almagro later insisted: “I went to court because I think I can play. I was top 10, I have more than 10 million dollars. I’m not going to play for $50,000. It is not the reason.”
He added: “I was trying to play during the week. It was tough. I did an MRI (scan) and the result wasn’t good. That’s it. I couldn’t play. I felt the problem again on court and I had to retire.
“I considered (withdrawing) but I was practising, I didn’t feel it during the week. I decided to play today.”