BABOLAT PURE DRIVE PLUS SPECS
Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27.5 in / 69.9 cm
Strung Weight: 11.2 oz / 318 g
Balance: 12.98 in / 32.99 cm / 6 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19
The Babolat Pure Drive range of rackets has always been aimed at the clean ball strikers that are looking to maximise the power in their game. It is a great racket for adding additional pop to your shots, without compromising on feel or spin. The Pure Drive Plus is a thoroughbred in the long line of rackets in Pure Drive line up. It features an extended length, that really helps you generate that extra bit of leverage, power and spin on the ball.
First introduced back in the early 2000s alongside Andy Roddick, the Pure Drive Plus is now a mainstay in the Babolat stable. This racket was great for giving Roddick that extra boost on his ferocious serve, so it is perfect for players who want easy power from their racket!
I have to say, I am a big fan of the way the new Pure Drive line looks. It is sleek and much more understated than previous versions. The signature blue colour scheme still stands out and is instantly recognisable as a Pure Drive, yet this new generation is particularly classy.
It is a stiffer stick to what I am used to, but this really helped give me additional control and stability when striking the ball hard. The stiffness also made the ball really explode off of the racket, so it was great for effortlessly redirecting the ball with power.
The new SWX Pure Feel technology really helps absorb any unwanted shocks that a stiffer racket may usually translate to your arm, so it is a comfortable racket to play with too. It works by adding a thin rubber layer between the carbon fibre weave, adding extra dampening to the frame.
Overall, this is a powerful yet controllable racket that feels incredibly solid and secure to hit with. Where some previous generations of the Pure Drive may have lacked a bit of feel, this new version more than makes up for it. It is reasonably plush for such a stiff racket, and one that I certainly got along with!
GROUNDSTROKES – 8/10
When you approach a racket like the Pure Drive, you can always expect it to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to power generation. This is not to say it will produce all of your power for you with no input, but it certainly will give you a helping hand.
Powerful rackets can sometimes be a bit of a mixed bag however. Sometimes you can use an oversized, head heavy stick that will of course give you a lot of extra punch, but will actually compromise on the feel and control. These rackets can also feel dead or void of connection due to their stiffer makeup and thicker beam width.
However, I’m pleased to report that the Pure Drive Plus is a joy to hit with! It is a lot more user friendly and approachable when it comes to controllable power than its predecessors. The new technology does make a big difference. Although it is still a stiff racket that is designed for generating power and spin with ease, it is not a one trick pony. You can feel confident that the ball will stay in the court even when you are trying to hit deep consistently.
You can get a really solid ‘thick’ contact on the ball with this racket. This means you will be able to hit a heavy, powerful, kicking topspin groundstroke without having to use all of your strength every time. The racket rewards big hitting, so I found it really helped on my forehand when I turned the screw. Whilst it didn’t generate as much spin as its Pure Aero Plus counterpart, it did add a bit more effortless power and felt a bit more solid overall. The open string pattern meant I could have ample spin when I needed it, but this racket really excelled when driving through the ball with pace, as the name would suggest!
I found it easy to turn a point on its head and hit an aggressive shot from a defensive position. This is a real asset to shot makers that want to win points on their terms.
VOLLEYS – 7/10
Surprisingly, the additional length did not translate into a load of extra swing weight compared to the standard Pure Drive. This meant that volleying was more manageable and the racket felt well balanced in the hand. It is not as feelsome as some of its more traditional feeling Wilson competitors, but this has never been the number one priority for the Pure Drive family.
The Pure Drive Plus was great at absorbing excess vibrations from fast oncoming balls, so redirecting the ball with pace was comfortable. I felt like one of the Bryan brothers volleying with this racket! However, that thick contact that was a real strength when hitting heavy, deep ground strokes did mean it was a bit more challenging to really cut the ball and hit short angled volleys. Whilst the racket did feel connected to the ball, it took a bit longer than I would have liked to get dialled in and modulate my touch shots. This wasn’t too much of a problem though, as the ball wasn’t coming back too often when I clobbered my forehand!
SERVE – 8/10
My serve is one of my major strengths in my game. It is a weapon that I use to open up the court and construct points with. I always look for a racket that will give me easy access to power so I can focus on placement, whilst also allowing me to find the angles and spins I want. This helps me really mix things up and keep my opponent on their toes, so they don’t find a rhythm.
Therefore, finding a racket that ticks all of these boxes can be quite difficult. The Pure Drive Plus came pretty close! It emphasized the power side of the equation, as that extended length really helped me ramp up my first serve speed without getting tired too quickly. Surprisingly, the racket also gave me enough control and spin to hit big kick serves and find my spots with ease. It was refreshing to serve with a racket that offered this much easy power. It made point construction a lot more straightforward, since I would often get a defensive reply from both first and second serves!
Return – 8/10
Using a more powerful racket when returning serve would be my preference most of the time, provided the ball can be controlled and steered back into court easily. This is often a downfall of power focussed rackets, since they lack the necessary dampening and spin potential to give you the control you need.
However, the Pure Drive plus delivered in both departments. It is lively enough to help you rip your returns with interest, but still retains that crisp feel on contact. You can really mix it up nicely with this racket. The ball can be blocked back with depth, so you don’t need to take too many risks to push your opponent back and neutralise the point. Yet, when you attack a second serve, you can swat the ball away with power. This was particularly useful on my backhand drive return, as I could push the ball back with little to no backswing and still fire off winners with little effort.
CONCLUSION – 8/10
In summary, I really enjoyed playing with the Babolat Pure Drive Plus. It was a refreshingly controllable racket for such a power orientated design. It stands out from the crowd but still looks the business and is a racket that will play as good as it looks.
It rewards big hitting, meaning you can feel confident stepping in and crushing the ball, safe in the knowledge that the additional damping and spin potential will keep your ball in the court. WHilst it is not the perfect racket, it is a great option for an intermediate player looking for a forgiving stick that will offer easy access to power and an overall solid feel.
The Pure Drive Plus is a joy to play with, so make sure you demo it before you buy your next racket!