Babolat 2015 Pure Drive 110 Tennis Racquet Review
Sporting fresh paint and some new tech, Babolat freshens up the entire Pure Drive family, including the new Pure Drive 110. The biggest introduction is that of Frame-String Interaction (FSI) Technology, Developed using impact location maps from the Pure Drive Play, Babolat has tightened up the string spacing toward the top of the hoop, seeking to improve control and response in the area most players are making contact. Here’s how my court time with the Pure Drive 110 shook out.
The Pure Drive 110 has plenty of power off both sides off the ground. The thick beam width and sub 10oz strung weight both contribute to easy pace generation. I did find I sent more balls long as I over accelerated through contact at times. I felt the frame could benefit from a lower power string setup to help harness ground strokes. Sweet spot is substantial and the head size leads to better playability on off center shots and also helped me get to some balls when on the stretch. Spin generation was on par with the rest of the Pure Drive family. String spacing on the 16x19 pattern is fairly open and racquet head speed was easy to generate. Both of those aspects factor into the ability I found to generate ample spin on both sides when I wanted to play with greater margin or loop balls out of my opponent’s strike zone. The low weight does create stability issues but they are somewhat mitigated by the frames more head heavy balance. However playing bigger hitters will still prove a bit more challenging. FSI really helps control shots off the top of the string bed in this model. I actually preferred making contact high as I felt it was much easier to keep the ball in the court and direct the ball to the right location.
Volleys & serves
I found serving with the racquet to be a bit mixed. I had to strike a balance between accelerating at the top and over cooking things on my flat serve. The power level is solid; I just needed some extra time to dial it in a bit. The large sweet spot and easy racquet head speed create good access to spin for serving with variety. While the pace was solid, none of my serves had much weight behind them, so I was not able to move to offense as quickly as I could with heavier models.
Volleying with the Pure Drive 110 was an exercise in aggression. The more aggressively I played the net, the easier I was able to finish balls with the racquet. The low weight makes it fairly maneuverable but I did find the added head size a bit cumbersome on quick exchanges and when playing volleys close to the body. The added hitting space helped on stretch volleys and kept some extra balls in play. Less aggressive tactics tended to result in more floaters.
The word to describe the Pure Drive 110’s feel is consistent. With the large sweet spot, FSI and Cortex to dampen vibration, I found very consistent, comfortable feel on shots regardless of the area on the string bed contact was made. The racquet plays with a very forgiving feel, allowing it to play comfortably for the players it is targeted to. A lower RA compared to other racquets in the line also helps ensure a higher level of comfort with this model.
Overall Developing players with shorter strokes and those who maybe are not the best movers will reap the benefits that the Pure Drive 110 has to offer. It offers tremendous forgiveness, a huge sweet spot and plenty of power. Couple those factors with the added control and response FSI technology brings and the racquet becomes a front running option in the game improvement category.
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.