AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Almagro denies cash-and-grab appearance at Australian Open

World number 42 faces awkward questions from press after playing 23 minutes with injury on day one. "I have $10m. Why would I play for $50,000?"

0
Nicolás Almagro abandona por lesión en su partido ante Jeremy Chardy en el Australian Open.
MARK R. CRISTINO EFE

Federer v Nadal live

World number 42 Nicolás Almagro was forced to deny he had played a match at the Australian Open on Monday just to pick up a $50,000 cheque for appearing in the opening round when he was aware he was carrying an injury into the tournament.

Almagro lasts 23 minutes

Almagro lasted 23 minutes of his game against France's Jeremy Chardy when, serving at 4-0 down, he double-faulted, walked back to his chair and conceded the match.

The 31-year-old, a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2013, cited his career earnings of more than $10 million as proof that his motivation was not the money.

"I went to court because I think I can play," he told reporters. "I was top 10; I have more than $10 million. I'm not going to play for $50,000. It is not the reason."

Almagro said he had undergone an MRI scan on his injured calf last week but had not felt the injury in training in Melbourne so decided to play his opening match.

"I felt the problem again and had to retire"

"I was trying to play during the week," he added. "It was tough. I did an MRI 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."