Wilson vs Babolat Tennis Rackets (Which is the Best Option?)
Playing with the right tennis racket for you is a fundamental part of improving and enjoying your tennis game. There are many big brands out there that claim to use the best technology, offer the widest range of playing characteristics and simply be the best rackets on the market. Wilson and Babolat are two of the oldest and more well known tennis racket manufacturers, both supporting two of the greatest players of all time, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Millions of budding tennis players around the world will affiliate with either of these brands because they have a preference for Rafa or Roger, but the question still remains, which is actually best? Well, if you are in the market for a new tennis racket and are considering trying out either a Wilson or a Babolat, you’ve come to the right place!
What to Consider When Choosing Your Next Racket
It’s all very well choosing a racket just because your favourite player happens to use that brand, but there is much more to picking your perfect stick than that.
Your Game Style
The first factor to consider when picking your perfect tennis racket is how you actually like to play the game.
You should choose a racket that suits your natural game style, rather than fitting your game style around the racket. This ensures that you play to your natural strengths and your racket supports you, rather than weighing you down.
For example, if you are a counter puncher that likes to sit back behind the baseline and rip ground strikes, then a power or spin friendly racket may be best off for you.
Whereas, if you are the type of player that likes to get into the net frequently and win your points with precision volleys and drop shots, then a more control oriented racket would be a better fit for your game.
The weight of your racket plays a major role in how accessible it is to use, how it feels in the hand and ultimately the playing characteristics of the stick.
A heavier racket will generally be more difficult to swing, but offer more control and plough through on your shots. It will also have a solid feel and be more suitable for intermediate to advanced level players.
Whereas, a lighter racket will usually be easier to swing, offer more power and forgiveness whilst also feeling a little more tinny or flexible.
Lighter rackets tend to be more suitable for beginner to intermediate level players and juniors.
Another important element to consider when it comes to tennis rackets is the size of their head. A racket with a larger head will offer more power and more margin for error, making it more forgiving to play with.
On the other hand, a smaller headed racket will offer more precision and control, as well as less power.
Generally speaking, less advanced players will tend to prefer a racket with a larger head, as it is easier to time the contact of the ball and there is a lower degree of difficulty when using this type of racket.
Whereas, a more advanced player may prefer the feel and precision that comes with a smaller headed racket, as they also don’t need the extra power on their shots.
Wilson Tennis Rackets
Wilson is one of the oldest and most well known racket manufacturers of all time.
They have a long history of creating control oriented rackets, and their famed Pro Staff and Hammer lines in the 1980s and 1990s were used by some of the greatest tennis players of all time.
In more recent years, Wilson has diversified their rackets into a range of different playing characteristics, to ensure they keep up with their competition.
Wilson’s brand image has always been associated with classy, more minimalist designs that focus on elegance and simplicity rather than brash colour schemes.
This is seen with their endorsement of players like Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Grigor Dimitrov and Serena Williams.
Babolat Tennis Rackets
Babolat were first recognised on the tennis scene for producing some of the best strings out there.
However, in more recent years they have become one of the most popular and recognisable tennis racket producers on the planet. Sponsoring players like Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick and Garbine Muguruza.
Babolat prides themselves on bold designs, extreme rackets and being on board with passionate players that aren’t shy to show their emotions on the court.
Their spin and power friendly rackets are very popular with recreational players looking to get the most out of their games.
Rackets for Power
Powerful rackets tend to have thicker beams, more generous head sizes and better shock absorption technologies. In this sense, both Wilson and Babolat have rackets that offer these characteristics.
Babolat Pure Drive
The Babolat Pure Drive is universally recognised as one of the best power rackets on the market. Through the years it has been aimed at players who like to hit with authority and push their opponents back with plenty of oomph.
Players like Andy Roddick and Fabio Fognini use the Pure Drive to boss their opponent’s around the court with power.
In response to Babolat’s Pure Drive, Wilson released the Ultra a number of years ago. It is a thicker beamed racket that has a relatively soft feeling compared to the Pure Drive, but is almost as powerful.
It is arguably a slightly more refined racket that offers a better sense of connection. Players like Borna Coric and Kei Nishikori have been seen using the Ultra.
The Clash is a pretty new creation from Wilson, promising to combine power, feel, comfort and stability all in the same package. This is no mean feat, but the Clash is something pretty unique!
It isn’t quite as powerful or solid as the Pure Drive, but then what is! The Clash is a more supple racket that offers fantastic feel for such a power focussed racket.
Rackets for Spin
Babolat Pure Aero
The Babolat Pure Aero is synonymous with spin. The king of clay himself Rafael Nadal has used the Pure Aero for his entire career, and it is no wonder he has the heaviest forehand the world has ever seen!
The Pure Aero is designed from the ground up to cut through the air and produce as many RPMs on the ball as possible.
Wilson hadn’t really attempted to rival the spin friendly Pure Aero before, until they released the Burn range of rackets.
With spin effect technology models that massively opened up the string pattern, the Burn rackets did offer a lot of spin in their own right.
They weren’t necessarily a direct rival to the Pure Aero, but they did fill the ‘spinny racket’ gap that Wilson had in their stable.
Rackets for Control
Wilson Pro Staff
When it comes to control oriented rackets, nothing beats a Wilson Pro Staff. This racket line has decades of refinement behind it to make one of the most iconic high performance rackets in the world.
The Pro Staff line went from a 90 sq in to a 97 sq in as it was co designed with the great Roger Federer a few years ago, but it still designed with attacking tennis in mind.
Another control focussed racket from Wilson is the Blade. Where the Pro Staff is an out and out precision instrument, the Blade is a little more powerful, supple and forgiving.
The latest version has been a hit for a load of professional players, as they love its all rounder personality. Whilst the Blade is still a control focussed racket at heart, it offers a unique blend of feel, power, spin and unrivalled plushness.
Babolat Pure Strike
Whilst Babolat has had huge success with their power and spin friendly models, for years there was nothing really there for the control oriented players.
Sure the Pure Storm did fill this void to some extent, but it could never really rival Wilson’s exquisite Pro Staff.
However, Babolat’s Pure Strike seeks to add more feel and control into their lineup. Dominic Thiem has used the Pure Strike for years now and it has taken him to a U.S. Open title!
The Pure Strike is very control oriented and is perfect for players that take big cuts at the ball and need a stiffer, lower powered racket to tame their brute force.
Which Brand is Best?
It is difficult to say conclusively whether Wilson or Babolat are better than the other, because they offer such different things.
Generally speaking, Babolat rackets tend to be more geared towards baseliners that love ripping heavy ground strokes, whereas Wilson rackets are generally better suited to aggressive players that like to attack the net.
So, if you are a baseline basher and need a forgiving racket that will help you extend rallies, grind down your opponent and dictate play with heavy balls then Babolat will probably have more to offer than Wilson.
However, if you are a player that likes to take matters into your own hands, play aggressive tennis and win your points with variety and one strike tennis, then Wilson rackets may cater for your needs better.
Overall, picking between two of the oldest, most prestigious and popular racket brands is no easy task. Wilson and Babolat offer very different value things, and their rackets suit different game styles.
Both brands have had to evolve to compete with each other, much like the two most famous players they represent!
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