When the mysterious Babolat “Project One Seven” started popping up on tour and on social media, players were dying to know what the scoop was on the latest racquet offering out of Lyon. We finally have our answer as the frame has officially debuted as the updated Pure Strike line. Now sporting a mostly white cosmetic, this update has a few new tricks up its sleeve. Babolat has retained the Hybrid Frame Construction that blends square and elliptical beam shapes together but has increased the beam width in areas of the hoop and shaft in order to beef up stability and power. This update also incorporates FSI Power, a string pattern tech that widens the cross spacing at the top of the hoop to boost spin and power. I hit the court with the mid weight Pure Strike 100 recently and here’s a look at how it performed.
The improved nature of the new Pure Strike 100 was evident off the ground right away. The frame played with some additional power compared to the previous generation. The slightly larger 100 square inch head offered a bigger sweet spot and combined with the thicker beam in the hoop to deliver solid power off of both sides from the baseline. The lighter 11.1 oz strung weight made it easy for me to amp up the racquet head speed for added pace. The frame also seemed to swing smoother through the air than the last generation did. Despite the excellent power level, the Strike 100 was no slouch in the control department. The 21/23/21 mm beam was still thin enough to provide exceptional control and I had no problem taming the power of the frame. The results were shots that landed deep into the court consistently. I also had a lot of confidence in picking aggressive targets on the outer edges of the court thanks to the frame’s outstanding accuracy. Much like the standard Pure Strike, the 16 x 19 string pattern of the 100 provided tremendous spin potential. I was surprised at how easily I could add spin to my shots. I was able to add plenty of margin to rally balls and then ratchet up the topspin even more when I wanted to push opponents off the baseline. This model had a bit more weight than the last Pure Strike 100 which improved the stability on contact and added some extra depth to shots. I still found a bit of wobble against bigger hitters but it could easily be remedied with the addition of some weight in the hoop.
Volleys & Serves
The Pure Strike 100 continued to prove itself as a weapon when I moved to the net. The accessible power made it a breeze to finish off high volleys and drive the ball through the court. The precise control also allowed me to find creative angles and spots to place the ball, ensuring my opponents would be on the defensive if the point continued. The headlight balance kept the frame maneuverable and it was easy for me to snap the racquet into position, even on defensive volleys. The solid feel also allowed me to find success on touch and drop volleys. This variety created havoc when I was at the net as I could take the ball to any spot on the court with differing levels of pace.
When it came time to serve, the Pure Strike 100 once again showed its value and versatility. The mid level weight and balance allowed me to accelerate through the top of the zone and drive the ball through the service box with plenty of pace. My first serve had tremendous pop on it even if it lacked a bit of the heaviness that the standard Pure Strike had. The directional control was also superb once again. I moved the ball all around the box and could take the ball to the corner or up the T on my first serve with no problems. Spin serves were also a powerful weapon with this racquet. The spin friendly pattern and fast feel allowed me to really kick the ball off the court and get it moving away from my opponents. The reduced weight made my slice serve a bit less effective as it moved wide but had less bite than a heavier model. The variety of power spin and accuracy made it enjoyable to control points on my service games.
Feel was an improved category for the new Pure Strike 100. The slight increase in beam width and weight gave the racquet a firm, solid feel on contact. Fans of “classic” feel would be more at home with this frame than any other in the Babolat lineup currently. The frame does a good job absorbing vibration without losing its crisp feel. The frame’s construction was still on the stiffer side, even though I found it to play comfortably across the string bed. Players concerned about their arm could utilize a softer string which should take the comfort level of the frame up another notch.
The new Pure Strike 100 offers several noticeable improvements over the first generation. It hits with excellent power and spin and has more stability than most frames in its weight class. Players will be able to transition seamlessly between baseline and net play. The racquet offers plenty of control and has ample spin for playing the modern game. Intermediate players and those who want room to customize will love the blend of power, accuracy and spin this frame uses to allow players to attack at any time in the point.
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.