Babolat Pure Strike VS 2022 Racket Review
The Pure Strike range from Babolat has been a welcome addition to their lineup over the past decade or so. Replacing the ever popular Pure Storm, the Strike blends control, power and spin to give players a classic feel with a modern twist. The VS model is branded as Babolat’s precision tool that aims to rival the likes of the Wilson Pro Staff and Head Prestige. This brand stick was sent to us from Babolat directly, so it was great to get out there and test the racket!
8.5out of 10
The new Pure Strike VS is a racket we have been very much looking forward to testing here at The Tennis Bros. This is the most performance focussed racket in the line up, sporting a smaller 97sq in head size and a more striking design.
Babolat have gone for a more stealthy look with the new version of the Pure Strike, which is a stark contrast to their signature white and orange design language.
It is still recognisable as a Pure Strike, but is more reminiscent of the Pure Control series of rackets that the French brand brought out over a short period of time.
The racket is a touch softer than previous versions, bringing it more in line with the old school Pure Storm that so many recreational and professional players loved in the early 2000s. That racket was famed for its unique blend of control and ball pocketing, which gave a plush feel.
This is not something that many other Babolat rackets have managed to nail since, and it is the hope that the new Pure Strike VS will bring back that pure, player focussed feel.
The VS comes with Control Frame Technology, which enhances the feedback without adding harshness. This gives you a closer connection to your shots and helps you feel the ball in a more tactile way.
Well, we can definitely report that the racket lives up to the hype! The VS brings a new dimension to the Pure Strike family.
The VS variant from Babolat typically denotes a more control focussed racket, and this is certainly the case with this racket. It is a pin point accurate scalpel that will allow you to carve up your slices and rip your forehands and backhands with a great deal of control.
In the hand, the Pure Strike VS feels solid but whippy. It is a racket that is pretty easy to swing and leans more towards head light control rather than being a head heavy clubbing machine.
It is particularly effective on approach shots, as you can whip up the back of the ball and get the racket brushing the ball nicely, giving you plenty of margin for error.
This is an area of the court I felt particularly comfortable in with this racket, and this tends to be a bit of a litmus test of a control oriented racket.
It is not the most powerful racket in the world and this is to be expected. Given that the Pure Strike line is more aimed towards players looking to tame their natural power, this is a great racket for someone that takes a big cut at the ball and wants to add some precision to their game.
The racket feels more supple than previous iterations of the Pure Strike. There is not a huge amount of difference between this and the Pure Strike Tour in terms of flex rating, but the VS is a lot easier to swing and as a result is more approachable.
This makes it more suitable for an all court player that likes to slice and dice the ball from the back of the court, but also feel comfortable being the aggressor and taking their chances to come into the net.
This is not a racket that is designed for clubbing ground strokes all the time, and it can come across a little underpowered and unforgiving if this is how you use it.
The racket does feel reassuringly stable on contact, but the fact that it is so easy to swing can leave it lacking a little in that ‘easy power’ or plough through department.
9out of 10
Volleying with the new Pure Strike VS was an absolute joy. Short of being an ultra control focussed, under sized racket this is one of the best feeling rackets to volley with on the market today.
It just hits that perfect blend of feeling solid enough to give you confidence when swinging through the ball, whilst being light enough to get into position really easily.
The racket is in the goldilocks zone when it comes to stiffness too. Sometimes a racket that is really flexible can feel a little mushy, whilst a racket that is too stiff can be void of any real connection or feeling.
This strikes a really nice middle ground that left me feeling great after I had come into the net. There is a great amount of feedback from the Pure Strike VS, and the smaller head size gives this racket a level of accuracy that no other model in this family of rackets can match.
7.5out of 10
The VS version of the Pure Strike was a pinpoint accuracy stick to serve with. The open 16×20 string pattern also added to my ability to generate spin on second serves.
It wasn’t the most forgiving racket when looking for power on first serves however, and this is somewhere that it was let down ever so slightly.
I am the sort of player that relies on my first serve to set up my points. Given that this is a control focussed racket, it is clearly not going to offer the last word in easy power on the serve.
But, the fact that it performed so well in other areas around the court set my expectations high! This is clearly down to the lack of swing weight that this racket carries.
However, the Pure Strike VS more than made up for this lack of easy power with its solid feel, comfortable flex and impressive control of the ball.
This is the sort of racket that you can trust in your second serves when using, as the amount of spin and control you have gives you a level of confidence that many other rackets don’t.
8.5out of 10
If you are a player that likes to use finesse and chip balls back into play with accuracy, this racket could well be the perfect match for you.
It performs in a similar way to the Wilson Pro Staff in that it is a control focussed racket that will not give you much in the way of power, but will allow you to place the ball wherever you want.
One of the best assets of the Pure Strike VS is its ability to nullify pace when returning big first serves.
You just need to stick the racket out and block a return back and you can easily knife through the ball to produce an awkward return for your opponent to deal with.
It is also refreshing playing with an underpowered racket that you feel you can use without having to hold back on your returning swings.
This is something that actually gives you a bit more margin for error, as you can take a slightly larger cut at the ball and get away with it, allowing you to generate more angles and height over the net.
You can happily sit back in the court and rip the ball to smaller targets with this racket, as it gives you the reassurance that the ball will land safely, well inside the court thanks to the open string pattern and low levels of power.
8.5out of 10
Overall, the Babolat Pure Strike VS has been a real hit with us at The Tennis Bros. It is a fantastic control focussed addition to the Pure Strike lineup.
The pure, tactile feel of the racket will appeal to all court players that like to get to the net at any opportunity and use their hands rather than just out and out power to win their points.
This racket rivals the likes of the Wilson Pro Staff, Yonex VCORE and Head Speed lines. Babolat have done a great job in creating a more accessible, yet performance focussed version of the Pure Strike.
The racket is easy to swing and allows you to create plenty of racket head speed, but also rewards accuracy and clean hitting. The clue is in the name!
If you are still looking for more rackets to try and would like to find out about accompanying string and tension combinations, take a look at our custom fitting service. We work with you to take the stress and hassle out of finding your perfect racket!
Is This Racket Right For Your Game? Find Out With a Custom Fitting!
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