Babolat is trying to set a new standard for great racquets across their brand. The 3rd Generation of the Pure Strike family elevates the brand to a new level by anticipating player’s needs and redefining the standard of control. This line is still geared for offensive players who hit hard, but also want sharper control and increased feel. The esteemed tennis brand changed the frame set up just slightly by developing Control Frame technology and combining it with an updated C2 Pure Feel technology. The Control Frame tech ensures maximum control/stability by fusing a square beam frame with a regular elliptic structure, while the Pure Feel tech adds cutting edge vibration filters to give you unprecedented comfort. The Pure Strike Team is the lightest model of the family giving players an easier to swing option, but the same control and feel as the heavier models. After play testing the first two iterations of the Pure Strike family, I was excited to see the changes Babolat made to this frame.
Compared to the previous two generations, I really felt a slight increase in touch and feel while I was hitting from the baseline. The newly added technologies allowed me to feel the ball longer on the string bed and feel more comfortable hitting my shots. Although it is lighter, at 10.7 ounces strung, this factor made it easy to whip the head through contact for additional pace. With most lightweight racquets I would worry about having too much power or spin and not enough control. However, I felt the Control frame tech worked in my favor by giving me more control even when I was trying to hit harder. Players will need to generate more of their own pace with this racquet to really dictate the point since there isn’t a lot of free power. The slightly larger 100 square inch head size made it easy to make contact in the sweet spot almost every time. Even when I was slightly off center, I didn’t feel too much instability. The one exception was when I hit the frame. Although there are added layers of shock absorption inside, I did get some tender elbow moments when I hit the frame.
Volleys & Serves
Volleys were enjoyable to hit when I was attacking and trying to end the point. The lighter weight made it very mobile so I could get into position for almost any shot hit at me. The added feel is great for hitting drop shots and low slice volleys to keep my opponent guessing. Similar to the previous version, I felt I could mix up depth pretty easily and pinpoint the ball anywhere on the court. I found the stability to be okay, but more advanced players will want to add some weight in the hoop to keep it from twisting against pace.
On serve the Pure Strike Team was a beast for me. The reduced weight made it easy to accelerate the head through contact and get plenty of pace on my flat, kick or slice serve. Players will get a good amount of spin when they do decide to go for a heavier spin serve. I did have to generate more pace regularly though to get the ball to go through the court. I found accuracy to be the best aspect of this frame. I could pinpoint my targets and force my opponent out of position right from the start making it easy to set myself up for a winning shot.
The feel of the new Pure Strike Team is what made it one of my favorite racquets to playtest. Compared its predecessors, Babolat really wanted players to get a better feel at impact and I truly believe it’s better than before. On contact the frame seems to have a softer, plusher sensation which I personally enjoyed. I always felt well connected to the ball enabling me to execute any shot on the court. Most Babolat racquets have notoriously been stiff, but this updated version minimizes that feeling making it way more comfortable to hit with for longer periods.
Dominic Thiem said it best “My new Pure Strike gives me control and confidence when I hit hard, the kind of feeling that makes a real difference on court.” I personally found this to be true with the 3rd Generation Pure Strike Team and the lighter weight makes it more versatile for all levels of players. It won’t have as much power or spin as the Pure Drive or Pure Aero, but it’s a great racquet for players that want sharper control as well as increased comfort.
Note: Playtest racquet was strung with RPM Blast 1.20 mm at 53 lbs.
About the Reviewer: Chris Virk-Brown currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Neumann University and coached at the collegiate level for 3 years. He is an active USTA League and Tournament player at the 4.5 NTRP level.