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Both professional and recreational tennis players have loved the Babolat Pure Drive tennis racquet since it first came out. The Pure Drive's power, feel and control suit competitive players, while the big sweet spot helps juniors, beginners and intermediate players learn, and quickly improve their game.
In this Babolat Pure Drive review, we'll examine Babolat’s best selling racquet and explain the differences between the different Pure Drive models. We’ll explain how the Pure Drive compares with other tennis racquets on spin, power, mobility and more.
Babolat Pure Drive Review - 2018 Model
Before we dive into the different models, first we’ll look at the specifications of the newest 2018 Babolat Pure Drive. Then cover how it compares on the court to other tennis racquets with regard to spin, power and more.
By the end of this review, you will know if this racquet is right for you, and how to choose the model that is best for you.
Babolat Pure Drive 2018 Specifications
The technical specs of the 2018 Pure Drive are similar to previous models. Below you can see the specifications, then you'll learn the advantages and disadvantages for each element.
Weight: 10.6 oz. unstrung | 11.2 oz. strung
Head Size: 100 square inches
Length: 27 inches
Balance: 320 mm
String Pattern: 16 x 19
Babolat Pure Drive is made of graphite and weighs 10.6 ounces unstrung (300 g.) making it middle of the road among other top racquets.
With a 100 square inch head, there is a larger sweet spot compared with other advanced tennis racquets. This makes the racquet great for singles players and people who hit a lot of groundstrokes from the baseline.
It is the standard 27 inches long with a balance point of 320 mm making it slightly head light.
Babolat is known for manufacturing racquets that emphasize spin. Their Pure Drive delivers solid and easy-to-achieve spin, which suits both pros and beginners looking to learn topspin or slice groundstrokes.
This racquet derives its spin from the carefully arranged string patterns. The newly optimized FSI Power String emphasizes both power and spin, especially when you are hitting groundstrokes. Because the Pure Drive has a large head size for an advanced racquet, as well as a 16 x 19 string pattern, the strings create a lot of friction on contact helping you generate more spin than most racquets with denser string patterns.
We already mentioned that Babolat’s new FSI Power technology improves power and spin. This technology also improved the sweet spot, allowing players to hit hard and accurate even if the shot is slightly off center.
Although not as wide as the Pure Aero, the wide frame on the Pure Drive helps generate power as well. This isn’t the heaviest racquet on the market, so not this combination of engineering and technology are what give it the power it has.
Professional women's tennis player, Garbine Muguruza, uses the Babolat Pure Drive. She is a former French Open & Wimbledon Champion.
Overall this isn’t the most powerful racquet on the market, but for such an advanced racquet it is certainly above average.
Control and Feel
Probably the best thing about the Pure Drive is its ability to absorb impacts and reduce vibrations. The Babolat's Cortex technology manages vibrations and provides the player with fantastic feedback on every shot.
The Cortex technology provides a fantastic feel and control, letting you know when you hit the ball right, and when you mishit. That’s one of the things that makes this racquet so good. It’s consistency between the feel of the shot and the result. When you use this racquet, you know you hit a good or bad shot as soon as the ball leaves the racquet.
The racquet is even more comfortable to control if you opt for the Pure Drive Team or Lite. Naturally, you'll lose a bit of power on your shots, but you'll get more control and better handling.
Maneuverability and Handling
The Pure Drive is easy to maneuver. The racquet weighs 10.6 oz. When you pair that with the frame design, you get a racquet that cuts through the air, reduces drag and responds well to any shot.
Those who prefer playing on the baseline will find this racquet's handling both refreshing and encouraging. It is perfect for groundstrokes, whether you hit topspin or flat. You can also generate great racquet head speed on your serve.
We don’t recommend this racquet, however, if you mostly play at the net. Because of the large frame, you do sacrifice some mobility on volleys. If you’re a doubles player that plays from the baseline as well as the net, then you will like this racquet.
The added power and spin to your serve and groundstrokes certainly make up for the marginal loss in mobility at the net, so this is not a deal breaker.
The Babolat Pure Drive is Best for Tennis Players Who...
If you’re serious about improving your tennis game then you should at least demo this racquet. Whether you are a competitive or recreational tennis player, the Babolat Pure Drive is the ultimate racquet for players who want to improve quickly.
While other racquets are only good for one skill level, the Pure Drive was designed to help players of any skill level get the most out of their ability. There’s a reason this is one of the best selling racquets over the last decade.
Again, while this is a great all-around tennis racquet, it’s specifically best for singles players who seek a combination of power and control on their groundstrokes. Primarily, it was designed to be used from the baseline. It’s not that it doesn’t perform well with volleys, but it is so good in other areas, that it does sacrifice a bit here.
Different Models of the Babolat Pure Drive
Result In Performance
Slightly denser strings pattern
Increased control & feel.
Weight - 1.1 oz lighter
Head Size - 110 Sq Inches
For beginner players only.
There are several different models of the Babolat Pure Drive. For most players, the 2018 model is best. If you need a little extra control, but less power and spin, then the 2015 model is right for you. However, if you are looking for something lighter or more specialized for beginners, the Lite and 110 versions below might be best.
Final Thoughts on the Pure Drive Tennis Racquet
After reviewing the Pure Drive, Babolat showed once again why they are one of the best racquet manufacturers in the world. Their Pure Drive racquets boast great technologies, which are reflected in this racquet's on-court performance.
The combination of FSI and Cortex technologies ensured that the racquet has enough control and spin to meet the needs of the competitive player. Its large frame and head size also make it a great racquet for beginner and intermediate level players, so they can improve and develop their game.
The Babolat Pure Drive shows unmatched performance from the baseline, delivering excellent control on groundstrokes, including more power and spin on serves.
If you have the racquet in position, you will hit good (not great) volleys with this racquet, but the size of the racquet does make it a bit more difficult to maneuver for doubles only players.
If you decide to get the Babolat Pure Drive, you won’t be disappointed. It’s been one of the most popular racquets on tour and among recreational players for a long time and will continue to be a favorite for all skill levels.
This Babolat Pure Drive review is one of many tennis racquet reviews on The Tennis Tribe. Read our full tennis racquet buyer's guide.