Babolat’s three racquet families are the Pure Aero, Pure Drive, and Pure Strike. The frames are incredibly popular, and each is created for a different game style. The Strikes are all about control and precision, the Drives offer explosive power, and the Aeros are focused on spin. The updated Pure Aero VS takes a step in a new direction giving players incredible spin, a little more precision, and increased flexibility.
One of the most identifiable features of the Aero racquets of the years has been its Aerodynamic-tapered beam. On the regular Pure Aero, the beam is 23/26/23 millimeters. With the previous Aero VS and VS Tour, Babolat condensed the cross section to 21 millimeters and gave you two various weight classes (VS unstrung was 10.4 oz and VS Tour unstrung was 11.3 oz). Now Babolat has updated the beam to 21/23/22 millimeters for a greater combination of stability, power, and flex, while also bumping the unstrung weight to 10.8 oz. The newest VS also gets updated with Cortex Pure Feel, Carbon Ply Stabilizer, and FSI Spin for comfort, stability as well as increased spin and string interaction. The new Pure Aero VS has a mostly chrome look with yellow accents, and is very reminiscent of the original AeroPro Drive but lets see how it compares.
The Pure Aero VS is notably softer, and more plush from the back of the court. The ball digs into the string bed for what feels like an eternity, and I noticed a lot of late movement on topspin shots as they dropped inside the baseline. The VS frame whips through the air faster thanks to the thinner beam, smaller head, and more head light balance. The VS is an improved execution of Babolat’s Aero Modular3 beam, and the racquet offers a huge step up in control when compared with the Pure Aero. With the VS, it was as easy to flatten out groundstrokes and rip heavy topspin from well behind the baseline. The 16 x 20 string pattern, on the 98 square inch head, offers an easy blend of control with some big time pop. With the regular Pure Aero, I struggled to find a feel for my backhand. I always felt caught between driving the ball too flat, or with too much spin. I adjusted to the Aero VS version almost immediately, and I felt instant confidence in my best shot.
I found the Pure Aero VS to be an outstanding racquet for an all court player. The more head light balance helps keep the racquet head up, and the thinner beam is easy to manipulate quickly for volleys. The extra flex came in handy giving me better feel on my shots, instead of just bludgeoning the ball with pace. I got a rather responsive string bed with RPM Blast at 50 pounds, but I could see serve and volleyers having success with gut or a nice multifilament. While the VS has a more comfortable flex than most Babolat racquets, it is still crisp enough to handle shoulder-high volleys and overheads with plenty of power.
Serves and Returns
I loved serving with the Aero VS. I got tons of shape on my serves, and could maneuver my opponent out of position and pounce on the next ball. I could hit flat first serves with much more confidence and consistency than I could with the regular Pure Aero. There was a great sound from the VS when contacting the ball, this isn’t scientific feedback per say, but it is very addictive. Returning serve with the VS gave me plenty of variety. I could drop back and play a loopy topspin shot or step in and take the ball early. I had success doing both, and I found a good result from an occasional chip-and-charge play.
Whatever Babolat’s goal was with the Pure Aero VS, it reminded me of one of my favorite frames of all time, the 2001 Pure Control. The Aero VS is more modern for sure, but the racquet has a dialed-in 16 x 20 string pattern, and a precise feeling 98 square inch head. Though this version has a tapered beam in the head, it feels as mobile and controlled as the previous Aero VS. The new Aero VS is more comfortable than the flex indicates, and it offers a much more controlled response than the current Aero racquets on the market. The fact that the racquet looks similar to the original AeroPro Drive, is a nice bit of nostalgia. If you were intrigued by the Pure Aero, but wanted more precision and comfort, the Pure Aero VS should be on your demo list.
Note: Playtest racquet was strung with a Babolat RPM Blast 18g (1.20 mm) @ 50 pounds.
About the Author/Playtester Sam Jones:
Sam currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active USTA League and Tournament player at the 5.0+ level. He secretly wants Djokovic to become the GOAT in tennis.