I love control from a tennis racket, so the Babolat Pure Control Tour should be something that is right up my alley. The specs don’t really point to the same thing though. I tend to prefer a racket with a big swing weight over actual weight, and the Pure Control Tour has a relatively low swing weight of 317g despite being 320g unstrung.
This should mean the Pure Control Tour has very good maneuverability, with a 7PT head light balance encouraging you to swing through the ball. With this version, Babolat has introduced a new Flex-Carbon material which should increase the racket’s flexibility, allowing you to comfortably absorb power and redirect it with control.
I’d normally expect a racket that is geared towards control to have a bit bigger swing weight than the Babolat Pure Control Tour. I just feel that the extra weight on contact means the racket stays more stable in your hand, allowing you to get a more precise contact. But obviously, Babolat have gone for a slightly different set up with this racket which should blend control with maneuverability.
This stick has the look of a classic Babolat, with a very similar color scheme to the Pure Drive, just with some red instead of blue and it looks like a no-messing tennis tool. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll probably know that I babble on about control being the most important quality of a racket for me, so I was pretty interested to see how the Pure Control Tour would match up with my game.
When warming up with this racket, the headlight balance became very noticeable, with much of the weight being centered in the grip. This makes the Pure Control Tour feel quite a bit lighter than 320g and makes the racket very easy to whip back and forth, generating good racket head speed.
If you’re looking to develop your swings a bit and want something that is extremely maneuverable but not super pingy, then the Pure Control Tour has excellent feel; and for a 320g racket is very comfortable.
I found that it would suit someone who loves to play a bit of defense and play on the counter-attack. You’re going to have to keep striking through the ball with this frame, but what it will give you is excellent control and wonderful feel in difficult situations.
For the aggressive baseliner or big server, I think it just lacks the pop that most of us would seek. But if you love to absorb power and wait for your opportunity to strike then this racket is perfect. Another big plus is the ability to make passing shots with unerring accuracy, so it didn’t take me long to work out that this racket would be great for a counter puncher.
I definitely don’t have the patience to play counter-attacking tennis, so I didn’t try that out, but instead, gave it a test with my blend of leftie craftiness (or annoyingness as right-handers see it) and all-out attack.
Groundstrokes – 7/10
The first thing I noticed with the Babolat Pure Control Tour racket on the backhand side was that I kept leaving every ball short and was really struggling for depth. You do get great feel from this racket, but it seems like you’re swinging hard and the ball isn’t going anywhere.
I had much more success with the slice, where I felt I could keep the ball low and put my opponent under pressure whilst moving him around the court. Yet every time I tried the topspin shot, I’d drop the ball short.
Obviously, it takes time to adjust to even a slightly different racket, but I couldn’t help but feel this racket was severely short of some swing weight, especially for a ‘tour’ racket.
I’m going to be a little harsh on the Babolat Pure Control Tour (sorry Babolat) and compare it to the Babolat Pure Strike, because that is seen as an incredible control racket as well, and the Pure Strike offers so much more.
I was trying to think of people who would prefer the Pure Control Tour over the Pure Strike and I was again brought back to the counter puncher. Perhaps they would appreciate the lower swing weight of the Pure Control allowing them to conserve energy and wait for the right moment to change the pace of the point.
Things did get a little better on the forehand side, as I felt like I have a perfect shot on this side to get the most out of the Babolat Pure Control Tour. I generate a ton of natural power and spin on this side, and so I did really enjoy the control aspect and the excellent feel. That being said, I feel I get all of that from the Pure Strike, but with the Pure Strike you get the advantage of some solid swing weight to go with it.
In my opinion, the Babolat Pure Strike is one of the best rackets out there. So, you may think it is a little bit harsh for me to be comparing the Pure Control to it, but if Babolat already have a top control racket in their range I don’t really see the point in the Pure Control.
From the back of the court, the Babolat Pure Control Tour is set up for maneuverability, control and feel. It does all these things pretty well, but it doesn’t offer a whole lot more, and so I gave it a 7 out of 10 from the baseline.
I may be biased, but there’s no way I’d put down the Pure Strike in exchange for the Pure Control Tour!
Volleys – 7.5/10
This racket has excellent maneuverability which means it is good in fast exchanges at the net. When you’re playing volley to volley, you’re not going to struggle to get the Pure Control into position, and that can be a big advantage.
Once you’re in position, the Pure Control Tour does what it is supposed to and gives you good control and feel. I was able to hit some nice drop volleys with this stick, and it certainly absorbs power very easily.
The downside was again the lack of swing weight. I felt I dropped a lot of volleys short, even when I was looking for some real depth, and ultimately it just wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
The Babolat Pure Control Tour doesn’t do a bad job at the net by any means, but I can’t see the racket’s ideal user coming to the net too often. I still think the Pure Control suits a counter puncher, and the net is not normally high up their list of priorities.
When they do rock up at the net though, they won’t be let down by this racket. Just like its performance at the back of the court, it is dominated by control and precision, and from this, you get excellent comfort levels.
Having spent a good amount of time at the net with the Pure Control Tour I have given it a 7.5. It’s not a bad racket by any means, but I just don’t see what it has to offer that the Pure Strike can’t give you.
Serve – 8/10
The serve was probably my favorite part of this playtest. From the beginning, I enjoyed the easy maneuverability of this racket and the added control it gives you. The Pure Control Tour allows you to swing through with absolute confidence, and really target precise areas of the court.
One serve that benefited from this racket, in particular, was my leftie serve out wide. The control the racket gives allowed me to dial into this serve, getting the perfect blend of power and spin. Sometimes a racket can give you too much easy spin for this serve, and you end up completely losing control of the ball, but the Pure Control gave me just the right balance.
The Pure Control Tour also gave me a lot of confidence on my second serve, where I was able to hit through the ball without fear of missing long. This resulted in some very strong second serves where I was able to take the upper hand in the point from the off, rather than be put under pressure from my opponent.
I still don’t think this racket performs as well as the Pure Strike on the serve, but at least I can see a little more differentiation between the two.
This was the most enjoyable part of the playtest for me, and I gave the Babolat Pure Control Tour an 8 out of 10 on the serve. It gives you complete confidence that you can go all out on the serve and still maintain a high level of consistency.
Conclusion – 7.5/10
This is a good racket, I just don’t see the value of it now that Babolat have the Pure Strike, and, in particular, the 18 x 20 Pure Strike which gives you all the control you could want.
If, a bit like me, you are a control freak (on the tennis court), then this racket is worth having a look at – at least to give you a bit of comparison.
I would say it might suit a counter attacker, who loves to have absolute control when on the stretch and enjoys making difficult passing shots.
You will have to have pretty strong strokes to generate good power with this racket, as it doesn’t offer you anything for free. However, the feel you get with this racket is extremely good, and if you live for drop shots then this might be very high up the list!
I have given the Babolat Pure Control Tour a 7.5 out of 10 overall. It is a very good racket, and perhaps if I didn’t know about the Pure Strike, I might have put it a little higher. I just think the two rackets aim to do the same thing, and the Pure Strike comes out on top.
Review by: Will