Tennis: Spain's Nicolas Almagro denies turning up just for the money after 23-minute match

Nicolas Almagro in action against Jeremy Chardy (not pictured) during their first round match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, on Jan 16, 2017.
Nicolas Almagro in action against Jeremy Chardy (not pictured) during their first round match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, on Jan 16, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE (AFP) - 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.

He 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 A$50,000 (S$53,450) 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.

"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."