Extended length racquet fans shouldn’t worry about being left out as Babolat revamps the AeroPro Drive racquet line. Just as in previous versions, Babolat has a frame for people wanting extra leverage with the introduction of the new Pure Aero +. The update takes advantage of all the new technology like AeroModular2 shaft design for more swing speed, built in Cortex for improved feel, and a more powerful and spin friendly string bed courtesy of the new FSI Spin string pattern. All the new advancements augment this racquet’s already venerable reputation for power and spin. The real question is how it plays on court. To get that answer, let’s take a look at my time with it.
The Pure Aero + took baseline power to the next level. I found massive power off either side thanks to the stiff 23/26/23 mm beam and forgiving 100 inch head. The power was a bit tough to control at times, especially with the softer multifilament it had in it. I had a difficult time controlling the depth of shots when I slowed my racquet head speed and tried to play a slightly more passive rally ball. But as soon as I raised my aggression level, the racquet responded and hit with tremendous depth and heaviness. The additional length gave me extra leverage on my backhand and I was really able to drive that shot through the court at will. The added reach was also beneficial on defensive balls when I was stretched out wide. Spin production was plentiful as the frame accelerated through contact nicely and the extra spacing between crosses seemed to create a bit more spin than previous versions. I was able to hit with plenty of net clearance and found the + model to do a better job than the standard Pure Aero at flattening out short balls.
Volleys & Serves
At net, the Pure Aero + plays at a slight disadvantage compared to its standard length siblings. I found plenty of finishing power and had no problem with offensive volleys I was out in front of. During fast exchanges and defensive shots, I had a bit more trouble maneuvering this model into position. It just wasn’t as quick to get lined up as other models. While the feel around the net has definitely improved with this version, I still found the ball pocketing and response for drop and touch volleys a bit lacking. My best results at net were when I attacked aggressively as opposed to trying to disguise shots and manipulate the ball.
Serving is another area that showed clear benefit from the extra length of this model. The extra leverage at the top of the zone really allowed me to drive the ball through the court. My first serve had some definite heat on it and the uptick in swing weight gave some extra weight to the ball. I still had some control and accuracy issues with flat serves. I hit quite a few long as I adjusted and I never quite felt comfortable really going after the lines on first serves. My second serves were struck with plenty of spin and had solid pace. My kick serve had a nice high bounce and heavy movement and my slice really stayed low and wide on the ad side. While I missed a bit of the precision of other frames, the raw power and great action on my serves made this a potent weapon to have when you step to the line to serve.
The entire Pure Aero line has a dramatically improved feel over the old AeroPro Drive versions. While it is still a noticeably stiff frame, there was an improvement in connection to the ball at impact. I have struggled with these frames in the past but played the new models without issue. I’d still prefer a bit more pocketing but the response was uniform across the string bed and there wasn’t a noticeable increase in vibration or harshness outside the sweet spot. While it played with better comfort and feel, sensitive players should still consider their string choice and tension when using it.
The new Babolat Pure Aero + represents a great option for players looking for a bit of extra length from their frame. It retains the massive power and spin potential that makes the line so appealing and provides some additional power behind the ball and improved defensive capabilities from the back of the court. Fans of extended frames will definitely not want to miss out on giving this one a trial run.
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.