If there was anything lacking in Babolat’s AeroPro Drive racquet line in previous years, it was the existence of a heavy weight model for advanced players. With the entire line being overhauled and renamed the Pure Aero, Babolat has remedied this problem with the introduction of the Pure Aero Tour. Boasting new advancements like AeroModular2 shaft design for improved aerodynamics, FSI Spin tech for more power and spin off the string bed and integrated Cortex for better feel; this model packs impressive offensive firepower in the same spin friendly, fast package the line is known for. I took the racquet to the court recently and here is how I felt it performed.
The Pure Aero Tour is an offensive player’s dream on groundstrokes. The 100 inch head size offers a generous sweet spot and the FSI string pattern helped ensure that all areas of the string bed had plenty of power. The 23/26/23 mm beam and firm construction also ensured I had power on tap for both forehands and backhands. The nearly 12 oz strung weight and swing weight of around 330 gave the frame incredible depth and weight of shot. There was so much power, that I actually had trouble reining it in at times. The racquet was strung with a soft multi and I found that especially on backhands, I really had to adjust my swing in order to keep the ball in the court. The frame definitely lends itself to a low power string set up in order to swing with confidence. The extra mass allowed me to make easy work of short balls and the frame had little trouble flattening balls out. As has always been the case with this line, spin generation was very easy. The head light balance made for easy acceleration through contact, increasing spin and pace. I created plenty of margin on both sides and could use the net clearance to reset points and defend as needed. The extra weight also provided some welcome stability against big hitters that I had never found with the standard models previously.
Volleys & Serves
The Pure Aero Tour played more comfortably at net than previous versions of this frame. The added weight and inherent power made extremely work of high volleys and floaters. I was able to drive the ball through the court at will. Maneuverability was extremely high thanks to the headlight balance and I was always able to keep the racquet in position during quick exchanges. The improved feel of this version gave me better capability on touch and drop volleys but I still did not feel all the way comfortable executing those shots. The extra weight added much needed stability on defensive volleys and allowed me to be much more effective at fighting off shots close to my body.
Players can expect to find a wealth of free points when serving with the Pure Aero Tour. The easy acceleration and extra mass combined for massive pace on flat serves. I again had a bit of trouble dialing them in but I attributed this to the softer string. As I got more comfortable, I was able to hit absolute bombs both out wide and down the T. This also spoke to the high degree of directional accuracy this frame had. Not only was I serving with power, but I was utilizing the entire box to keep opponents off balance. The fast feel and enhanced spin from the FSI pattern also combined to produce devastating spin on serve. I was hitting huge kick serves that launched out of my opponents strike zone and slices the slid way out wide, dragging them off court. The Tour version had the most serving versatility I have seen out of this family of racquet from Babolat.
For me, feel was one of the most improved areas of this update to the Pure Aero version. The move to an integrated Cortex system greatly improved the response and feel on contact. Make no mistake, this is still a very stiff frame, but it no longer punished my arm the way old models had. I also found it to be a bit better at executing touch shots, though it still lacks the pocketing a more flexible frame can offer. The racquet played with a very uniform feel and response, with no additional jarring outside the center of the string bed. Players with sensitive arms should still take precaution to choose their strings wisely in order to limit potential issues.
Advanced players who have yearned for the Aero line to have more stability and plow through have had their requests answered with the introduction of the Pure Aero Tour. It blends ball crushing power and spin with incredible stability and improved all court capabilities. The racquet retains its impressive maneuverability and speed while adding the mass necessary for advanced players to dominate points even more impressively.
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.