Rafa Nadal has pulled out of the Brisbane International due to a left thigh problem.

The Spaniard explained the withdrawal by saying he did not want to risk an injury ahead of this month’s Australian Open.

“It’s a small thing that can become a much bigger… when you compete the intensity on the muscle it can get worse,” Nadal was quoted as saying by the tournament organisers.

“I feel better than I did four days ago… It’s a risk to damage my body for one month if I play here.”

Lucky loser Taro Daniel will replace Nadal in the second round against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.