Babolat has officially rolled out the update to its Pure Strike line. Now outfitted in the paintjob first known as the “Project One Seven”, the line has several key revisions from the original generation. While the family still uses the mix of elliptical and square beam geometry known as Hybrid Frame Construction, the beam width has been increased in key areas of the frame to improve stability and power. The update also includes Babolat’s FSI Power which widens the cross string spacing, providing enhanced spin and power. The lightest model, the Pure Strike Team, incorporates these new technologies in a package that is easy to swing and offers the same control and feel of other models in the line. Here’s what I thought of the new Pure Strike Team after I logged some court time with it.
Off the ground the Pure Strike Teams played fast and powerful. The slightly increased beam width and firmer construction provided plenty of pop from both sides on the baseline. The 100 inch head size had a sizeable sweet spot and the FSI power technology seemed to keep the power level consistent when I made contact high in the string bed. The lighter 10.6 oz strung weight also made it easy for me to whip the head through contact for additional pace. Shots didn’t have the same heaviness as the beefier models but the frame still hit with enough power to be dangerous. The control and accuracy was another highlight of hitting with this frame. I was able to move the ball around the court easily and chose aggressive targets with confidence when I wanted to take control of the point. The 16 x 19 pattern was very spin friendly. I found excellent grip for getting topspin shots to dive into the court and was impressed with the amount of spin I got on the backhand side. The spin production was also helpful on defense as I was able to put more air under the ball and work myself back into the point. The stability was impressive for its weight and the frame benefited from having a closer to even balance. While it fluttered against heavy hitters, beginners and developing players should find enough stability to hit with confidence on both offense and defense.
Volleys & Serves
Much like the rest of the Pure Strike line, the Team was a capable performer at the net. The lower weight made it quick to position on rapid exchanges and I was frequently able to snap off defensive volleys. The easily accessible power allowed me to finish off balls aggressively. At times the reduced weight resulted in balls floating, but I was consistently rewarded for attacking shots at the net. I found decent stability against hard hit shots but more advanced players would want to add some weight in the hoop to keep it from twisting against pace. Touch and drop volleys were easy to pull off thanks to the well connected feel the frame offered.
On serve the Pure Strike Team showed off both its strengths and limitations. The reduced weight allowed me to easily accelerate the head through contact, resulting in a solid amount of pace on flat serves. The reduction in mass however also limited the court penetration my serve had, allowing opponents to play more offensive returns. Since it was not as easy for me to overwhelm them with pace, I focused on using the directional control of the frame to my advantage. This racquet hit with plenty of accuracy and I pinpointed targets that would force people out of position and allow me to play an aggressive first ball. With easy access to spin, I was able to hit effective kick serves and use them to move opponents off the court. While I would have liked a bit more bite on my slice serve, I was still able to get it wide enough on the ad court for it to also be an effective weapon.
The Pure Strike Team is an excellent example of a racquet built for the modern game that retains more of a classic feel to it. On contact the frame had a crisp, solid feel to it. It vibrated a bit more on off center shots but I never found it to become overly harsh. The feel of the frame allowed me to be well connected to the ball which helped me execute touch shots around the court. With a fairly stiff construction, players worried about their arm should be able to find adequate comfort by combining the frame with a softer string setup.
Babolat wants the Pure Strike family to be the first choice for players seeking to play with controlled aggression. The Pure Strike Team does an excellent job combining easy power and spin with outstanding control and feel. Its maneuverability and accuracy make it a dangerous all court weapon. Beginners and developing players who want power and spin that doesn’t skimp on control and feedback should be able to use the new Pure Strike Team to take the fight to their opponents.
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.