BABOLAT 2013 Drive Max 105 Tennis Racquet Review
The Drive Max 105 weighs in at a modest 9.2 oz. (260g), the same as the Drive Max 110, and balances out at 13 3/8” (340mm), or 1 point head light on its 27 inch frame. Flex is a very strong 73, and strung swingweight is a smooth 309. Beams are a solid mid-wide design, measuring 24mm at the top of the head, 26mm at head center, 25mm at the shoulders, and 22mm at the handle. Babolat’s classic 16x19 Drive series string pattern provides excellent string spacing and should give us the spin we’ve become used to from this line.
From the Baseline
The Drive Max 105 is very easy to swing fast and, combined with its strong flex, it’s a snap to drive the ball the length of the court. A light, headlight racquet, I found it easy to “snap” up on the ball for topspin, a great way to help control the frame’s power (that should help women and juniors generate racquet speed). That said, however, the sweet spot seems a bit low on the head (most head light racquets will be this way), and may be better suited to flat or slice strokes than big topspin play.
You can feel the stiffness right away, and most players would be advised to use softer, more comfortable strings (our TE test model was strung with Babolat Addiction) to take some of the jolt out.
At Net and Serving
The Max 105’s light weight makes it a dream to maneuver at net, never feeling rushed or out of position on even the quickest volley exchanges. The stiffness doesn’t help in the feel department, but one place it really shines is on swinging volleys, where its speed and spin-friendly string pattern allowed me to take a big, controlled rip at midcourt floaters.
The Drive Max 105’s low weight make it a server’s friend, as I found it easy to swing quickly overhead on all types of serves, powering off flatter balls and cranking up some serious slice and kick on second serves. The same qualities make it great on overheads, its high level of racquet speed making it a breeze to snap off smashes from anywhere in the court.
The Babolat Drive Max 105 is a solid addition to the Drive series, and perfect for women, developing juniors and players whose swings aren’t big enough for the heavier Pure Drive and Aero Pro Drive models. Lower weight and a larger head size allow for more power and control on mishits, and the strong flex makes a shorter slower swing pack more punch. Intermediate-level doubles players will love its quick action at net, and its speed on serve and return of serve will serve players of 3.5 levels and below quite well.