Babolat Pure Drive Review

Babolat releases new updates regarding their racquets after every three years. Most manufacturers release updates every two to three years, and this is a quite sensible rhythm, especially when changes or improvements are made. Babolat has a new Pure Drive with a similar design to the 2018 edition but with some improved features. Pure Drive 2021 is slightly softer and has a more muted feel. 

Babolat Pure Drive is an iconic tennis racquet with a design that makes it easy for players to use it. If you are a tennis sports enthusiast looking for free power in a tennis racquet, Pure Drive is the racquet for you. Babolat has constantly offered a standard high-quality racquet which is quite popular with tennis players. Each generation of Babolat Pure Drive provides a slightly new feel than the previous one regarding string pattern and design technologies. 

Back then, Babolat was better known for manufacturing tennis strings. It is the tennis manufacturing brand that has stayed in the market the longest. Currently, Babolat is the most popular choice for tennis players across the world.


Product overview

The Babolat Pure Drive 2021 is made with soft co-polyester strings. The 2021 model has a 16 x 19 string pattern similar to the one preceding it. Pure Drive has an area of 100 square inches, which falls in the MidPlus Racket classification. The new model maintains the original weight of Babolat Pure Drive, which is 300 g. One of the most outstanding features of this new Pure Drive is its relatively rounded frame. It moves nicely and quickly through the air because of its unique aero feel.

Product specifications

  • Head Size:100 in² / 645.16 cm²
  • Length:27in / 68.58cm
  • Unstrung Weight: 300g
  • Balance: 32 cm / 7 pts HL
  • Swingweight: 290
  • Stiffness: 74
  • Beam Width: 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
  • Composition: Graphite
  • String pattern: 16/19

Product features 

The following are the features of Babolat Pure Drive:

1. Design

The design of Babolat Pure Drive should be enough reason to get it if you are a tennis player, especially the 2021 version, which has some newly added technologies. The HTR (High Tension Rigidity) system is one of the technologies in the 2021 version. This system includes a creative lay-up composition in the racket’s hoop, generating explosive results for enhanced rigidity.

Babolat makes its Pure Drive with an SWX Pure Feel. This technology refers to a vibration dampening system that has a lay-up to offer an unparalleled feel during the ball’s impact.

The racket also has a Woofer Dynamic System, a technology that helps frames and strings interact, allowing you to move your racket freely. Using this technology, you will get an excellent shock absorbency, an excellent trampoline effect and outstanding power.

The frame’s shape is a pretty noticeable feature of the Pure Drive 2021: it is slightly rounded. 

2. Materials

The material used to make Pure drive is graphite. For beginners, they might find it a bit heavier, and this can be difficult for them in controlling the racket. However, pro and intermediate players may not struggle to control the racket. 

The material is a bit heavy, and if you are a newbie, it can drain you down easily. Also, your wrist and forearms may experience some pain besides you feeling fatigued. If you are a beginner, you might want to use another racket away from the Pure Drive.

The graphite frame will allow you to serve the tennis ball at a higher impact because of its additional power. The high-quality graphite used to create the Babolat Pure Drive makes the racket durable. 

The strings of the racket consist of synthetic gut material. Some users, however, say that this nylon-based material is not of high quality, and they found it disappointing. 

3. Weight

The racket falls on the heavier side when compared with other rackets. We have established that the weight of this racket may not be suitable for beginners but work quite well for pro and intermediate players. A heavier racket enables the players to enjoy excellent clears and smashes. Also, a heavier racket provides you with more stability when you are striking the tennis ball. 

4. Size and Length 

The Babolat Pure Drive is a midsize racket that measures 100 sq inches. Although it may not have a big sweet spot like oversized ones, it still offers an ideal sweat spot. With this decent size, you can hit the ball efficiently and give you a more controlled spin with each strike. 

The racket length is 27 inches long, which gives you more power to reach every shot efficiently. 

5. Head Balance

The manufacturer has constructed the Pure Drive racket with a headlight balance, indicating that more weight will be in the shaft. When your racket’s head is lighter, the swinging net will be easier to handle each shot. In case you are into double formats, this will be the best pick for you.

6. Grip and Its Size

The material used to make the grip of Babolat Pure Drive: robust Syntec Pro, gives a comfortable grip when using the racket. This material does not slip even if your hands sweat.

Its size is two inches for European countries, which include the UK. If your hands are small, this might not be the best option for you.

7. Cortex technology

Babolat Pure Drive has a Cortex System Technology which is also known as Cortex Pure Feel Technology. This technology helps in reducing shocks and vibrations generated from the racket’s shaft and handle. With this feature, you have an assurance of a consistent and firm feel throughout the game. 

8. Frame String Interaction (FSI)

FSI technology is a special, essential and unique feature that is in the string bed of the Pure Drive tennis racket. It puts the sweet spot higher in the racket frame to enhance comfort and power when it makes contact with the ball. In addition, the string bed has a pattern of tight strings, which enhance shot precision.

9. Woofer technology

The technology was initially launched in 1999. It uses a pulley and piston system whereby there are no fixed strings in a locked-up position. This is contrary to the conventional racket frames. This technology allows the string to move when it comes into contact with the ball. As a result, the string causes the whole surface to react, creating a more prominent sweet spot with a more enhanced shock distribution, reducing vibration harshness. 

10. EVO Beam and Elliptic design

These two are unique designs in the Babolat Pure Drive.  The designs give the racket a lower swing rate, high flex, and less torque during the ball impact. The Elliptic design helps in preventing the racket from bending, twisting, or getting heavy while playing. 

EVO Beam refers to the diversified beam widths of Pure Drive. The beam varies from 23.5 mm to 26 mm to 23 mm in the head, neck, and throat. This design helps in reducing torque during the ball impact, ensuring a better feel and great results in more tactical shots.

Who is Babolat Pure Drive Tennis Racquet best for?

The new model of Babolat Pure Drive is best for pro and intermediate players. It has all the features that pro or intermediate players love, such as heaviness and an ideal medium-sized sweet spot. Beginners may struggle with the racket, but with time they will get used to it when they are in their intermediate level. Nonetheless, we highly recommend this racket for pros and intermediate players.

What does the 16/19 string pattern mean?

The string pattern of Babolat Pure Drive 2021 is 16 x 19, which means an open design with fewer vertical and horizontal strings. This pattern has more spaces which add more spins to the tennis ball. When the strings are denser, they tend to bite the ball to produce more spins. Yet, the string patterns are unsuitable for hard strikers as they might rip apart the strings. 

Are you a single or doubles player?

Some rackets are more ideal for groundstrokes than volleys. You should consider your purpose and what you will be doing more regularly with the racquet. If you consider playing from the baseline and hitting groundstrokes, a racket that provides versatility for a larger sweet spot will be ideal for giving you more power and spin.

For doubles players who tend to play mostly at the net, they will require a racket with good mobility. At some level in doubles, the game gets faster, and there is little time to react. A racket head with an area of lower than 100 square inches will have less versatility and control in placing your volleys.

Do you hit more topspin or flat groundstrokes?

If you prefer hitting topspin more, you should choose a racket that provides you with enough strength to do so. A racket with a string pattern that is open will grab the ball more, assisting you in creating a great spin. Also, a manufacturer can use different kinds of strings that enhance more spin on shots.

For players with flatter groundstrokes, a racket with a tighter string pattern and a small head will be ideal for such. A racket head with an area of between 95 – 98 sq inches will be suitable for more advanced players who don’t depend highly on the spin. It helps in controlling your shots as the extra string density enhances the ball control.

Selecting the right racket for your skill level

Before picking any tennis racket, you should first understand the level you play and the head size and weight. Below are major factors to consider when selecting the best tennis racket:

1. The size of the racket head

Different sizes are ideal for different players and different tennis game levels. The tennis racket head sizes are classified into:

  • Oversized: 105 and above square inches. 
  • Mid plus: 98 to 104 square inches.
  • Midsize: 85 to 97 square inches.

2. The weight of the racket 

The weight of a tennis racket is determined by its size and the material used to make it. Babolat Pure Drive is constructed using graphite material which makes it heavier. When choosing a tennis racket, make sure you will be comfortable with its weight while playing.
The following is how the frames weights of tennis rackets are classified:

  • Lightweight frame: 9 – 9.7oz / 255 – 275g
  • Medium frame: 9.8 – 11oz / 275 – 310g
  • Heavyweight: 11oz / 310g and above

3. The level of playing tennis

If you are at the early stages, select a light racket with a bigger head size: oversize. A larger head size makes it easy for your racket to make contact with the ball consistently. These two properties will help you learn how to use a racket gradually, and with time, you can upgrade it to suit your new level.

You can start selecting a tennis racket with smaller head size and heavier than the one you were using at the beginner stage the moment you reach the intermediate level. As you play, tennis muscles develop to generate more power and pace on their own. When selecting a racket for an intermediate player, you should choose:

  • Mid plus or oversize head size
  • Medium weight frame

 Advanced or pro players should select mid-sized rackets that will help them play with more feel, control, and precision. The three benefits offer an improved connection-to-the-ball feel, offering a lot of confidence to the players as they go for shots.

Types of swings

There are two common types of swings in tennis, and you must understand which kind of swing you need. Here are the types of swing:

1. Short swing path

Some advanced tennis players make more compact strokes which are more efficient and fast. Typically, these types of strokes have a shorter take back time and fast acceleration of the racket head. 

2. Long swing path

Other players’ swing paths are relatively longer. Longer swing paths are basically slower, which means a player will take more time to complete a stroke. You may be required to use the backhand or forehand when playing. 

Some players, however, have a middle swing path. The important thing here is to know the swing path type you are most comfortable with. 

If you are a player with shorter swings, you will mostly accelerate quickly through the ball to generate more power. This is because the racket produces more power every time you make contact. You are more likely to hit a flat ball with lower topspin which means you can use a smaller frame that will offer extra accuracy and control on your shots. It is good to choose a larger racket when you have a longer swing path. 

Product pros

  • The Babolat Pure Drive 2021 is an improved version of 2018. If you are more comfortable with the 2018 version, the 2021 version has a more enhanced feel.
  • The racket gives better comfort.
  • It generates spin and power more easily.
  • The Babolat Pure Drive has a big sweet spot.
  • The racket is ideal for both intermediate and advanced players.
  • When frame and string interact, they make the head move effortlessly.
  • Pure Drive racket has a terrific trampoline effect.
  • As a tennis player, you will enjoy this racket’s shock absorbency. 
  • The shape of Pure Drive: elliptic offers great precision, balance, and responsiveness.
  • It is constructed using high-quality graphite, which makes it durable. 
  • The material used to craft it makes it heavier, which gives you more control and stability.
  • Its mid-sized nature offers you a spin and control with some effective strikes.
  • It is easy to manoeuvre the head of a Pure Drive racket at the net.
  • With this racket, you will handle your shots with much ease.
  • The quality of the Pure Drive tennis racket is good.
  • It is excellent for double formats.
  • The grip of this racket is outstanding, and the material used to make it prevents slipping even when your hands sweat.
  • It is best for players with medium-sized hands.
  • Babolat consistently upgrades its Pure Drive tennis racket with a promise of a better racket than the previous one.
  • It has a balanced weight which allows a natural swing.
  • The weight of the racket has enough power you need to hit the tennis ball.

Product cons

  • It is heavier than some tennis rackets on the market, causing fatigue and pain in your forearms and wrists.
  • If you have just started playing, you might find it hard to control.
  • It is only ideal for intermediate and pro players.
  • The sweet spot is not big enough as a racket with an oversized head.
  • The manufacturer designs the grip for players with specific-sized hands.
  •  It takes some time to get used to this racket’s raised sweet spot.
  • The quality of the string is in doubt as some players find it disappointing.
  • It is more expensive because of the material used to make it: Graphite.

Our honest review

If you are really into tennis, all generations of Babolat Pure Drive will be great for you. If you want to upgrade your racket, Pure Drive 2021 version is the product for you. Its design is so much different from other traditional rackets as it has included several techniques to make sure you come out as the best tennis player. The racket has a raised sweat spot for improved shots. Raising the sweet spot is a result of study carried out by Bobalat on how tennis players strike the ball. The raised sweet spot has improved the output of many players who primarily rely on tennis games.

The new design of Babolat Pure Drive is better than the previous models. If you want a new, different or more powerful racket that will offer you better manoeuvrability and ease to use properties, this will be the best pick. The new generation of Pure Drive will be a great step for any player who wants to upgrade scores. You will not take too long before getting used to the Pure drive 2021 version, as it offers just a slight difference from the previous models. The learning curve will not be too much for any player who has been using Pure Drive rackets.

For any player making a shift to Pure Drive tennis racket, the learning process will be gradual. We established that the Pure drive tennis racket is ideal only for advanced and intermediate players. It might work well, especially for intermediate players who want to upgrade rackets with enhanced spin and power. If you have just started, you may want to try other options as this racket tends to be heavier and uncomfortable if you are not used to it. Although it is an upgraded tennis racket, it may not be ideal for a player with a history of wrist or arm problems.

Because of its design and material used to construct it, the racket provides great power,  control and comfort, improving the quality of the game. It is mainly designed for players who desire high-ranking scores and aspects of the game they play.

Pure Drive tennis rackets models differ mainly in string pattern, frame design and the sweet spot area. Different models work best for different players, but you may like the new version. All you have to do is try it, and maybe with time, you might get used to it. 

When you are buying a tennis racket, focus on the quality and what works for you. Babolat has many models of rackets, and not all of them will work for you. You might get many recommendations on a particular generation of Pure Drive tennis racket, but the moment you play with it, you realise it is not the racket for you. Know your requirements before making any purchase to avoid blaming the manufacturer.

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