Babolat Pure Drive Team Specs
Head Size: 100 in² / 645cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5 cm
Weight: 10.7 oz / 303 g
Unstrung Weight: 10.1oz / 285g
Balance: 33cm / 4 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
The Babolat Pure Drive is a go-to racket for players looking for plenty of power and spin. At 285g unstrung, the Babolat Pure Drive Team offers a more manoeuvrable option for intermediate players, but would it still offer class-leading levels of power?
We always enjoy a Pure Drive playtest, because, well, it’s always fun to absolutely crank the ball. One of the reasons the Pure Drive rackets seem to be so powerful is because they combine manoeuvrability with a good swingweight. The same is true of the Pure Drive Team, which despite weighing a very manageable 285g has a swingweight of 316.
This means that it’s easy to get the racket accelerating really quickly through your swings, but it also stays solid on contact, meaning all the energy you generate goes through the ball. So, the Pure Drive Team sounds great in theory, but did it work out in reality?
The Team features some great technology to aid your tennis, including FSI Power Technology and Cortex. The FSI Power Technology gives the racket diamond shaped grommets, which increase the distance between the strings. This should allow the strings to move more freely, giving you more power and spin.
In order to give this racket its extra stability, Babolat has made it quite stiff, which can sometimes lead to the racket being quite uncomfortable. To negate this, the Pure Drive Team has a Cortex dampening system, which uses a special rubber material to add extra comfort.
I’ve been on a run of playtesting these Babolat Team rackets, having recently tried the Pure Aero Team and the Pure Strike Team. I have to say I have been very impressed with them and I like the fact that they stay true to the characteristics of the heavier rackets in the range. I was pretty confident that the Pure Drive Team would do the same.
If that’s the case, the Pure Drive Team will suit someone who loves to attack from the baseline and hit big serves. The Pure Drive Tour is one of my favorite rackets to serve with. It’s just so manoeuvrable and it seems to convert all of that racket head speed into power and speed.
Obviously, the Pure Drive Team is a much lighter racket, so you can’t expect the same levels of power, but I’m hoping it will be a racket that can maximize the potential of beginner and intermediate player’s swings. If it does that then it will be one very popular racket indeed!
I took the Pure Drive Team out on a picture perfect day for a hit on our local red, artificial clay courts to see what it would offer. It’s a bit on the light side for me, but it’s not so light that it can’t perform to a reasonably high level, so I was pretty excited for this one.
Groundstrokes – 7.5/10
This is where the Pure Drive Team is so easy to play with. If you want to sit back and just stay in the point then you can do that with ease, but when you want to up the pace, the Pure Drive brings some serious power. I always get a bit carried away when I’m using a Pure Drive and start beast-moding forehands.
As with any racket though, the access to power and spin does come with a caveat. The Pure Drive doesn’t offer amazing levels of control and feel, so if you’re someone who loves a tight, control oriented racket, this is not the one for you. For those players, I would suggest the Pure Strike Team and for those in between the two, the Pure Aero Team.
Although there were definitely a few balls I hit with this racket that inexplicably sailed long, I didn’t have too many problems adapting to it. The ball seemed to come off the strings very quickly and it launches at quite a high angle, but once you get used to that, it’s pretty manageable.
The main problem for me was that I had to use a lot of topspin to control the power, which kind of negated the benefits of all that power. There was just a little bit too much going on for my liking. I like my rackets to be very control oriented with a dampened feel, which is the opposite of the Pure Drive Team. That being said, I played some pretty good tennis with this stick.
My one slight worry with this stick would be the stiffness. For beginners who aren’t as used to the motions of tennis, this could perhaps lead to some wrist and elbow pains. So, I would recommend it more to adult beginners who are fairly strong, and intermediate players whose strokes are a little bit more developed.
Aside from that slight issue, I think the Babolat Pure Drive Team is a very good racket for beginner/intermediate players. If you’re someone who likes to hit with power and spin, then you’re sure to see some good results from this racket.
I gave the Pure Drive Team a 7.5 out of 10 on the groundstrokes. If your main concern is control then it might not be the one for you, but for anyone else, it offers a ton of benefits.
Volleys – 6/10
This is the area that I always find to be weakest with the Pure Drive rackets. For a racket with quite a big swingweight, it doesn’t seem to offer the stability at the net that you would expect. They are quite pingy rackets and that’s not something you want when you’re at the net.
When you’re playing intermediate level tennis you don’t need a racket that absorbs power amazingly well, but you do want a little bit of feel. I felt that the Pure Drive Team really lacked in this area and there are definitely rackets in this weight class that volley better.
The one scenario when I did quite like volleying with this racket was when I had an easy put-away or an overhead. When the ball was just floating to me, it was easy to inject pace into the ball and ensure my opponent had no chance of getting to it.
However, when the ball came at me with plenty of pace on it, things became much more difficult. The Pure Drive Team doesn’t have the ability to absorb power very well, which meant the ball would ping back without me having much control on it. If you spend a lot of time at the net you might find you struggle with this racket.
At the end of the day, you don’t buy a Pure Drive because it’s good at the net! It’s just something you accept, it’s great from the back of the court, but not so much volleying. I gave the Babolat Pure Drive Team a 6 out of 10 at the net as I struggled with this part of the playtest.
Serve – 7.5/10
In my opinion, this racket has everything you could want on the serve for an intermediate player. It has great manoeuvrability and easy access to power and spin. Sure, it lacks a little bit of control, but not enough to stop it being a brilliant serving racket.
The serve is one of the most complicated shots in tennis, so I always find it’s beneficial to have a racket that’s easy to manoeuvre, and that’s exactly what the Pure Drive Team gives you. Once you get it moving, it gets quicker and quicker, until you’re eventually ready to batter the ball.
Unlike some rackets that are very fast but don’t translate your racket head speed into power, the Pure Drive Team is a master at converting speed into power. This is because it has a bigger swingweight than many rackets in this weight class, meaning it wins the collision with the ball and ensuring there’s plenty on your serve.
I enjoyed hitting groundstrokes with this racket, but the serving was definitely my favorite part of this playtest. For me, I would have benefited from something a bit heavier, but for a beginner or intermediate player, this racket contains an ideal blend of manoeuvrability and power.
Whether you’re hitting big first serves, or just trying to get a second serve into court, the Team is going to give you a good helping hand. I was able to get a lot of free points off my first serve, but I also maintained a good second serve percentage, with very few double faults.
The Babolat Pure Drive Team’s excellent performance on the serve got it another 7.5 out of 10 from me. For a racket of this weight, I don’t know what more it could have done. The only way you get better performance is by moving up to a much heavier racket.
Conclusion – 7/10
Another very good racket for beginners/intermediate. The nice thing about Babolat’s rackets is that they have different rackets that appeal to very distinct types of players. The Pure Drive Team caters to the big-hitting baseliners in the beginner/intermediate levels.
This racket is so easy to play with and you will benefit from great levels of power and spin. Andy Roddick didn’t rep the Pure Drive rackets for no reason; it’s because they can give you some explosive power, which he used to full effect. Of course, the Pure Drive Team can’t give you as much power as something like the Pure Drive Tour or the Pure Drive Tour Plus, but the weight is much more manageable for players who aren’t as experienced in tennis.
This racket’s biggest weakness is at the net, but as I always say, there aren’t many people who spend a lot of time at the net, so it’s not a big deal. As an aggressive baseliner, the only time you really pop up at the net is to finish the point off, so as long as your racket can handle that then you’re fine.
As always with the Pure Drive range, the Pure Drive Team performed excellently on serve, offering true power and good spin without compromising too much control. If you’re someone who struggles a little to generate power on your serve, then this racket could give you the little boost that you need!
Overall, I think this is a very good racket for beginners and intermediates to look at. If you’re not too sure what your style is, I would recommend trying this one as well as the Pure Strike Team and the Pure Aero Team. They have very distinct characteristics, so you should be able to find the one that best suits your game.
I gave the Babolat Pure Drive Team a 7 out of 10 – a good score for a good racket.
Review by: Will