Advanced, heavy hitting players who want to dominate with spin and power have a new ally in the freshly updated 2019 Babolat Pure Aero Tour. The heaviest model in the Pure Aero lineup boasts the same tech upgrades as the rest of the line. Cortex Feel uses the SMAC rubber compound at 3 and 9 O’ Clock to provided softer feel and a more dampened response. Stability is bolstered by the new Carbon Ply Stabilizer being used in the throat. Spin and power continue to be maximized by the wider FSI Spin string spacing and combination of Woofer technology and oblong spin grommets. With these incremental but important improvements, I was excited to see how the new version of the Pure Aero Tour performed.
The Pure Aero Tour had a seemingly limitless selection of firepower from the baseline. The 100 inch head size offered a generous sweet spot and the FSI Spin pattern ensured plenty of power across the entire string bed. The 23/26/23 mm beam and firm construction also provided easy power for both forehands and backhands. The 11.7 oz strung weight produced shots that had tremendous depth and weight to them. At times the power level was a bit too high and I had trouble fully controlling the ball. Groundstrokes hit a little too casually resulted in the ball quickly sailing past the baseline. The extra mass of the Tour allowed me to make easy work of short balls and the frame was better suited to flattening out mid court balls than the standard version. Much like all the previous Aero models, spin generation was very easy. The increased head light balance made for easy acceleration through contact, ratcheting up spin and pace. I created plenty of margin on both sides and the extra net clearance reset points and gave me time to recover as needed. Stability against big hitters was also the best in the Aero family with the Tour model as it easily absorbed pace and redirected it with interest.
Volleys & Serves
The Pure Aero Tour was a welcome surprise at the net. The added weight and inherent power easily dispatched anything left in my strike zone. It was effortless for me to drive the ball through the court on volleys. Maneuverability was extremely high thanks to the headlight balance and I was always able to keep the racquet in position during quick exchanges. Despite the added weight, I found the Tour to be more maneuverable than the standard model because of the balance. The extra weight added improved stability on defensive volleys and allowed me to be much more effective at defending hard hits and shots close to my body. The softer feel of this version made executing drop and touch volleys a bit easier, but I still want to someday see what a Pure Aero with a significantly lower flex rating would be capable of at net.
The Pure Aero Tour showed off the ability the rack up free points on serve like a video game. The easy acceleration and extra mass joined forces to produce huge pace on flat serves. Sometimes I found myself overcooking my first serve, but attributed it to using a much softer string than normal. As I got dialed in, I was able to crush serves both down the T and out wide. This variation also highlighted to stronger directional accuracy the Tour model had over its lighter siblings. My serve was being struck with both power and precision, making it very tough for opponents to get any traction in my service games. My second serve was also lethal. The easy acceleration and FSI Spin pattern combined to produce heavy action on both kick and slice serves. My kick serves launched out of my opponents strike zone and my slices skidded way out wide, dragging them off court. Every time I stepped to the line to serve with the Pure Aero Tour, I felt like I had an arsenal of choices at my disposal.
Babolat continued to improve the feel of the Pure Aero Tour with the Cortex Feel update. The layer of visco-elastic SMAC rubber in the hoop took the rough edges of the response of previous versions. This is still a very stiff frame, but it no longer made my elbow twinge in fear upon picking it up. The response on contact was simply much cleaner and smoother than older Aeros, even on off center hits. The frame was also a bit better at executing touch shots, though it still lacked the pocketing a more flexible frame can offer. SMAC and similar compounds (Countervail, Kraibon/Graphene 360) absorb vibration but the underlying frames are still firmly constructed. Players with sensitive arms should still take precaution to choose their strings wisely in order to limit potential issues.
Players with advanced stroke mechanics and a desire to hit the heaviest ball possible should feel at home with the new Pure Aero Tour. It offers ball crushing power, eye popping spin and enough feel around the net to make it dangerous from anywhere. When you couple that with top level stability, improved maneuverability, and more refined feel, you’ve got a dominant weapon. The new 2019 Babolat Pure Aero Tour is sure to please big hitting baseliners looking to add a bit more feel and authority to their offensive firepower.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5 League and Tournament player.