RAFAEL Nadal has confirmed he will not contend this year's Brisbane International due to a knee injury but vowed to press on with Australian Open plans.
Nadal issued an apology to his fans on Twitter this morning.
"I am sorry to announce I won't be coming to Brisbane this year," he wrote. "My intention was to play but I am still not ready after last year's long season and the late start of my preparation.
"I had a great time there and it was a great start to the month I spent in Australia.
"I will be seeing my Aussie fans when I land on the 4th in Melbourne and start there my preparation for the Australian Open."
World no. 3 Grigor Dimitrov will now be the top seed when the tournament starts on Sunday.
"I am disappointed for Rafa as I know how much he liked playing in Brisbane 12 months ago," Brisbane tournament director Cameron Pearson said.
"We received word of his withdrawal this morning.
"We wish Rafa all the best that he will be ready for Melbourne."
Nadal, who pulled out of his last tournament in November with a right knee injury, would be loath to play a Grand Slam event with leadup matches, with the hardcourt surface of the Australia Open making its best of five set format even more arduous, even for the teak-tough Spaniard.
Nadal has a scheduled evening of Fast4 matches in Sydney the week before the Australian Open starts on January 15.
The Brisbane International now needs more than before fitness query Andy Murray to be able to add star power to its men's field.
Murray, the dual Wimbledon champion, is trying to step up a return from a hip injury but his representatives have indicated he plans to arrive in good time from London to play in Brisbane.
Pearson said Perth's Matt Ebden ranked no.76, will now be in the Brisbane main draw and the wildcard set aside for Ebden would be available to another Australian.
That player could be 18-year-old Alex de Minaur or seasoned Townsville player John-Patrick Smith.
World No.140 Bernard Tomic's claims were not enhanced when he pulled out of Brisbane qualifying for reasons not yet, sources says, communicated to Tennis Australia.