Babolat Pure Aero 98 (2023) Review
Looking for a high-performance tennis racket that will take your game to the next level? The Babolat Pure Aero 98 (2023) might just be the answer.
In this review, we'll dive into the features and benefits of this popular tennis racket, helping you make an informed decision before your next match.
Babolat’s 2023 Pure Aero 98: Is It Worth the Hype?
So, you want to know all about Babolat’s Pure Aero 98, the frame used by the Spanish phenom, Carlos Alcaraz?
Few frames have generated so much interest thanks in part to the mercurial feats of Alacaraz, but also because Babolat promised change and real improvements to the 2023 edition of this model.
Naturally, we just had to take this frame for a spin. And spoiler alert, it has become one of the most recommended frames to feature in our custom fitting service. We discover why in this review.
Quick Notes on the Babolat Pure Aero 98 (2023)
The Pure Aero frame has long been known for power and spin with muscular, tapered beams, stiff constructions, and open string beds. And to be fair, Babolat has excelled in this field.
Many professionals and amateurs alike lean on various iterations of the Pure Aero line to add substance and revolutions to their shots.
However, tennis at all levels has evolved.
There is a growing demographic of fitter, stronger, and more technically proficient players who would like some degree of added power and spin, but with more than a modicum of control and feel.
Enter the 2023 Babolat Pure Aero 98!
9out of 10
As always, aesthetics are purely subjective and if you are a staunch fan of classic frames such as Head’s ‘Prestige’ or the Wilson RF97 then the frame could be a little jarring.
But we like the modern scheme which sees a tungsten gray motif punctuated by pops of bright yellow.
In many ways, this colorway is a good metaphor for the frame itself, In essence, a blend of modern innovation with a nod to something more classic.
9out of 10
Firstly, let us address the elephant in the room – and that is the ‘Carlos Alcaraz effect’.
So many players will put this frame into play because of the Spanish magician, and we guess some will expect similar results with blistering, spin-heavy groundstrokes that are simply unreturnable. However, no racket can elevate our game to the level of Alcaraz.
Nonetheless, we can see how the Pure Aero 98 is the right tool for his game.
Likewise, we appreciate how it can infuse similar elements within our games.
The 98 sq-inch head moves freely through the air, aided by a 6-point head-light balance and a narrow-ish beam (21mm, 23mm, 22mm). And at 305-grams we found it easy to whip this frame into position with some serious speed.
However while maneuverability was a breeze, our shots launched with real heaviness thanks to a solid, very stable, and yet manageable swing weight of 327.
Most interestingly, for a line of frames synonymous with spin, Babolat elected to use a 16×20 string bed to bring a touch more control into the mix – a move that we genuinely love.
Now, you may immediately fear that the denser bed will impact negatively upon the frame’s spin potential, but Babolat’s ‘FSI Spin’ and ‘Aero Modular’ technologies work to create increased dwell-time (ball on string) and aerodynamics respectively.
This serves to ensure that the revs remain on tap – especially if you opt (as we did) for a shaped polyester string, such as RPM Blast.
Overall, the racket handled with beautiful balance and real stability.
Thanks to the 16×20 string bed, we enjoyed a noticeable improvement in accuracy and consistency with no real drop-off in spin.
Our groundstrokes consistently packed a punch, landing within the lines with dependable accuracy, and it was hard not to smile and enjoy our tennis – at least one thing we had in common with Señor Alacaraz!
9out of 10
The aforementioned maneuverability came to the fore when approaching the net. We could put the Pure Aero 98 quickly into position and again, the directional accuracy supplied from the 16×20 bed was a nice plus.
But what stood out for us, certainly when compared to previous Pure Aero iterations, was the softer ‘more compliant’ feel created by Babolat’s new construction.
Whereas previous years have seen noticeably stiff Pure Aero frames, the 2023 model has a moderate RA (stiffness rating) of 65. When married to Babolat’s ‘NF²-TECH’ inserts which are designed to enhance shock absorption, volleying was a very pleasant surprise.
It was volleying that made us truly appreciate that Babolat has created a modern classic of sorts. It is not a thoroughbred classic such as a Wilson Pro Staff, but it successfully straddles both genres without feeling compromised.
9out of 10
Frankly, we had a blast when serving with the Pure Aero 98. The key ingredients of speed, handling, and stability combined to create a tasty array of options – from kickers that fizz to flat bombs down the T.
Yes, there are more powerful frames out there, and there are those that will inject slightly more spin. But few frames blend the two properties so successfully and with so little compromise. Plus, the denser string-bed and softer construction aid with accuracy and feel too.
Again, we did feel that choosing RPM Blast enhanced the amount of spin being generated. Nonetheless, we would be confident of creating ample revolutions even with a control-focused string.
In short, when serving with the Pure Aero 98, ‘versatility’ was the one word we kept coming back to.
8.5out of 10
Grading a frame for returning can be tricky. It hinges on the ability of the server and that of the returnee. But, thankfully we faced a variety of players during this test and throughout, the Pure Aero acquitted itself admirably.
At 305 grams we would have maybe liked a little more weight against more powerful opponents, but this was only a minor grievance and could be quickly fixed if necessary.
But for the most part, we found the Pure Aero 98 incredibly stable against most first serves and a particular joy to use against second serves.
When facing slightly more pedestrian balls we could swing freely and aggressively, allowing Babolat’s technology to do its thing, relying on the frame’s inherent spin and accuracy to our advantage.
Ultimately, as mentioned previously, we liked the word ‘versatility’ when serving while our watchword for returning was trust. We had faith in the Pure Aero’s stability in order to block the most powerful serves and we relied upon its engineering to play offensive tennis against slower balls.
9out of 10
As you can tell, we are huge fans of the latest Pure Aero 98 and while it has only been out for a relatively short space of time, we already feel it could be classed a ‘modern classic’ in the truest sense of the phrase.
Modern in that it employs up-to-the-minute technologies to help heighten feel and increase spin, but classic in that it provides genuine control along with feel in a player-focused footprint of 98 sq inches.
For traditional players who normally gravitate towards Prestige or Pro Staff-style frames but desire more help, or for those playing 100 sq-inch frames who desire more feel and playability, the 2023 Babolat Pure Aero could be the answer.
It successfully blends the DNA of a true player’s frame with the playability, power, and spin of something more helpful.
Staunch devotees of traditional frames may still look elsewhere. Likewise, there are many players who need their racket to really compensate with exceptional spin and power.
But there will be many players for whom the Pure Aero 98 is a highly capable, supremely versatile, and above all, an incredibly fun-to-use weapon.
Could the Babolat Pure Aero 98 (2023) Be Your Next Racket?
As you consider your next tennis racket purchase, don’t forget to explore our custom fit service.
Ensuring your racket is tailored to your unique playing style and physical attributes can make a world of difference in your game. Why not see if the Babolat Pure Aero 98 (2023) might be the perfect fit for you?
Are You Using the Correct Racket & String for Your Game?
out of 10
out of 10
out of 10
out of 10
out of 10
out of 10
Men’s vs Women’s Tennis Rackets: What’s the Difference?
Is there really a difference between men’s and women’s rackets? This is a commonly asked question that doesn’t have a very clear answer. Whilst there aren’t specific rackets that are designed for men or women tennis players, there are some trends in both the men’s and women’s games that make…Read More
Babolat Pure Drive vs Pure Aero vs Pure Strike
Trying to compare the Babolat Pure Drive vs Pure Aero vs Pure Strike? Choosing the right racket can make a big difference to your game, so we’ve researched Babolat’s most popular racket models to give you the complete guide. Here’s our in-depth guide to Babolat Pure Drive vs Pure Aero…Read More