Despite the absence of Andy Roddick from professional tennis, Babolat was not about to let their most advanced version of the Pure Drive get forgotten in 2015. Now named the Pure Drive Tour, the racquet beefs up the standard specs of the Pure Drive and incorporates the new technology introduced in this update. Frame-String Interaction (FSI) technology tightens the string spacing at the top of the sweet spot to improve response and control where most players make contact. Advanced players who want a weapon capable of controlling the court will have a lot to like in this new update.
Boasting the same beam width and similar stiffness to the main Pure Drive, the Tour model increase the weight to 11.7oz strung, making it capable of hitting with incredible weight of shot. Controlled strokes are rewarded as the racquet works to drive the ball deep and heavy through the court. I found an ample sweet spot and solid directional accuracy from both sides. FSI provides a bit of an improvement in predictability on shots off the top of the string bed. The 16×19 pattern is spaced open enough to allow for easy access to spin, allowing you to vary your margins and play safe or flatten out shots as desired. The weight can become noticeable over time, particularly if players are muscling the ball. Relaxed, consistent mechanics are the key to unlocking the racquet’s full arsenal off the ground.
Volleys & serves
Volleys are easy to finish off with the Pure Drive Tour. The added mass makes simple work of anything higher in the zone, finished balls with depth. The added weight makes it a little more challenging to maneuver in exchanges but it compensates with a slightly more head light balance. This provides a fairly maneuverable feel and won’t be a noticeable issue when playing aggressively. The added weight also helps keep the racquet very stable when dealing with bigger hitters.
The Pure Drive Tour provides tremendous serving options to strong players. Those who can accelerate the frame through the zone consistently will be rewarded with outstanding pace and weight behind flat serves. The string pattern allows for access to a variety of spins on serve. I was able to mix in kick and slice serves to keep opponents guessing. The racquet has solid directional accuracy, allowing serves to be moved around the box with confidence.
You can always trust a Pure Drive to play predictably stiff and with a crisp feel. The feel is uniform across the string bed thanks to the Cortex system. While not the most responsive, feel oriented option, it is capable of executing touch shots with a bit of adjustment. Comfort will be largely dependent on the player wielding the racquet. Those with sensitive arms would want to carefully consider their string choice and tension in an effort to temper the inherent stiffness of the frame.
Technically sound, physically strong players will reap maximum benefit from the new Pure Drive Tour. Its increased weight rewards advanced stroke mechanics with a high power shots that have tremendous depth and weight. While primarily a baseline frame, its ability to play well from all areas of the court is another reason for its immense popularity. Players who want a higher weight frame that will help them dictate points from the outset will want to hit with the new Pure Drive Tour.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.