Black Friday bargains on rackets, including the Babolat edition favoured by Rafael Nadal

Tennis Features
Rafael Nadal at Davis Cup

IT has been the racket of choice for Rafael Nadal throughout his remarkable career, so it is no surprise that his Babolat Pure Aero is one of the world’s biggest-selling frames for a decade and more.

The racket you buy from your supplier may well come without strings or could include cheap factory strings, so you need to seek advice from a professional on the right type of string and the tension that will best suit your game.

In addition, you can add weight to your current frame to change its balance and feel, with the right grip size also vital to ensure you get the best feel on the racket and do not increase the risk of injury.

We quizzed the Babolat experts on the best rackets for players looking to find a winning edge by generating extra spin, power and control, with these three coming out on top.

SPIN – Pure Aero (Retail price £220)

The 300g weapon that has propelled Rafael Nadal, Babolat Pure Aero tennis racket has been developed to maximise spin without losing any power and punch.

It features include Aero Modular 2, an aerodynamic development designed to create maximum penetration of the racket through the air and increases hitting power resulting in perfect control for directional hitting and maximum spin.

Woofer technology has been built directly into the mid-section to create greater dwell time and increase spin, while FSI spin technology sees oblong grommets have been placed at the top and bottom of the frame to allow greater string movement this is combined with a broader weave pattern to provide optimum spin.

Our verdict: The Nadal racket is, in fact, the Aero Pro Drive Original and while he has tried other models with limited success, his 19-Grand Slam titles have been won with a frame that is the best part of 10-years old. There are a wide range of options in Babolat’s Pure Aero range and the one we tried offered great variation on your shots, with the spin being generated on the ball noticeably more dynamic.

POWER – Pure Drive Lite (Retail price £160)

The lightest racket in Pure Drive series is ideal for players wanting a blend of power and playability. Featuring GT technology, carbon fibres and tungsten filaments are braided together to make a hybrid material which is placed in the core of the racket to provide strength and greater stability. Tungsten is also strategically placed in the frame to provide 10% greater energy recovery and greater power.

Elliptic Geometry frame design which is 20% stiffer than a tradition frame reducing torsional movement and providing more power, while Cortex is a new material has been integrated into the graphite of the racket at the throat which increases vibration dampening, provides incredible sound and direct feel during the game.

Our verdict: This is a frame that gives players who may not have natural power that extra pace on the ball they are looking forward. The female players who joined us on the Babolat test day at Stoke Park favoured this frame, with a big sweet spot allowing power to be generated with modest racket head speed.

CONTROL – Pure Strike 18×20 (Retail price £200)

The latest model of the Pure Strike is perfect for players who speed up the ball & need responsiveness to increase their precision.

An optimised string pattern with wider spacing of the crosses provides more power and hybrid Frame Technology gives you the unique combination of power and control. The wider beam sections in the throat of the frame and increases stability at ball impact. String pattern 18/20 will increase control.

Our verdict: This racket came out on top for us. Feeling light in the hand despite its relatively weighty 305g weight, it enhanced servicing potential and felt solid on groundstrokes. This racket is used by world No.4 Dominic Thiem and is a great option for club players who like to engage in long rallies from the back of the court as the big sweet spot in the racket offered noticeable help in ball control.

WHERE TO BUY; This is the perfect week to invest in a new tennis racket with Black Friday deals across all the leading tennis outlets, yet we think the best place to buy these frames is the LTA website, with the sport’s governing body in the UK having a tie-in with Babolat that allows them to offer huge discounts.

Tennis365 were invited to test drive Babolat rackets at Stoke Park Country Club and Spa Hotel. If you are interested in using their superb tennis and PADEL courts, click here.

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