With a desire to offer a Pure Drive for every play style, Babolat targets the biggest of hitters with the new for 2015 Pure Drive Tour Plus. Ball impact data from the Pure Drive Play line has led to the creation of Frame-String Interaction (FSI) technology. FSI tightens the string spacing at the top of the sweet spot for better response and control in the area most players make contact. Here is my impression of Babolat’s most advanced on court artillery.
Ground strokes become a force of nature with the Pure Drive Tour Plus. Its increased mass and swing weight, coupled with the high stiffness and 23/26/23 beam width, allow you to hit with devastating pace and weight. I was able to control points off both wings and drive opponents off the court, opening it up for me to finish points. The 11.8oz (strung weight) provides exceptional stability against big hitters. I found the biggest dividends when I was focused on relaxed smooth mechanics, allowing the racquet to do the work for me. The extra ½ inch of length provides extra leverage for some added spin and also provides increased reach when stretched out on defense. The sweet spot was solid in size and FSI provided a bit of an increase in control when contact was made at the top of the string bed. Players with advanced mechanics will be able to control the court with power and depth from the baseline.
Volleys & serves
The Pure Drive Tour Plus performs best at net when used aggressively. When I was focused on attacking volleys, it was easy to finish balls thanks the mass behind each shot. The weight and extra length make it a bit cumbersome at the net so early preparation and sound mechanics are crucial to getting the better of rapid fire exchanges. I found the extra weight actually helped me hit touch volleys more confidently than with other models in the Pure Drive line. I felt I needed to do less with the racquet in order to place the ball where I wanted it.
Players who can accelerate the weight of this racquet through the serve will find incredible power and depth on tap. My flat serves exploded of the racquet and had tremendous weight behind them, putting my opponents on the defensive. The added length also allowed me to really drive the ball down through the court. The added weight made it a little harder for me to hit kick serves with the same amount of action as some of the lighter models, probably due to a reduction in racquet head speed through contact. When serving in a smooth relaxed motion, the racquet has great accuracy and I had no problem moving the ball to different areas of the service box.
The Pure Drive Tour Plus had the best feel for me personally out of any of the versions I tested. The added weight made me focus on playing smoothly and in turn my mechanics were sounder, limiting any discomfort due to poor technique. The racquet still plays fairly firm but the response is consistent across the string bed thanks to the Cortex system absorbing vibrations. String choice and tension will play a role in the overall comfort of the frame as well.
High level players who can handle high static weight and want a bit of extra leverage will find a lot to love about the new Pure Drive Tour Plus. Its increased mass and swing weight make it a powerful tool from the baseline and on serve. However it is its surprising net abilities and solid touch that make it a true all court choice for advanced players who value aggression and offense on court.
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.