We love Fabio Fognini, here, at TheTennisBros.com. His on-court charisma, Italian charm and exciting game style make him one of the most popular guys to watch on tour. He can attack, defend, burn winners through the court out of nowhere and is also known to engage in heated debates with umpires on occasion!
Being one of the shorter players on the circuit, and not possessing the same weapon on serve as some of the higher ranked players, his equipment choice is one which many amateur players can look to emulate, somewhat.
He’s flashy, he’s dazzling and he’s a Babolat boy through and through. For those who aren’t Babolat fans, please look away now! However, for those of you who are fond of those all famous rocket launcher style rackets, look no further!
Let’s take a closer look at Fognini’s choice of equipment.
Fabio Fognini uses the Babolat Pure Drive. However, although from the paintjob it may appear that he is swinging the lastest version of the product, he is actually using the old frame from 1997. This is very common amongst professional players, as most have been playing with the same frame since their teenage years with varying paintjobs over the course of their careers.
The original version of the Pure Drive that Fognini uses has a lower stiffness rating than its current successor and does not have the new cortex system or the modern grommets.
His racket would feel much more “solid” and powerful than the shop version of this frame due to the additional silicone and lead tape his team apply to the frame. One of the benefits of this is the increased swingweight, power and plow through effect the racket creates through the ball. This is especially effective when he is receiving a very heavy incoming ball and needs to redirect it with his own spin.
Below, are his exact racket specifications.
Racket: Babolat Pure Drive Original (1997)
Head Size: 100 sq. inch
Lead and Silicone: Both
String Pattern: 16 x 19
Strung Weight: 339g
Strung Balance: 337
Balance: Close to even
Grip: Babolat Syntec replacement grip and overgrip
Fognini strings up his Babolat Pure Drive with Babolat RPM Blast at 55lbs. This choice of string in a full bed setup provides him with oodles of control and is therefore the perfect addition to the powerful Pure Drive frame.
Why Are These Effective Combinations for Fabio?
The Pure Drive is certainly one of the most powerful (and popular) rackets out there at moment, both on tour and on the club scene. Fabio clearly enjoys the characteristics this racket offers, as it provides wicked topspin and slice as well as wonderful pop on the flat, first serve.
Fognini is a dangerous player. He can hit winners from anywhere in the court and can turn defense into attack with a flick of his wrist. His Pure Drive, coupled with the control orientated RPM Blast strung a mid-range tension helps to reign in some of the natural power from the Pure Drive and give him the confidence to swing big and still keep the ball in the court.
Often, the players on tour under 6 feet tall tend to be swinging extended length rackets. According to his stats on the ATP website, Fognini comes in at 5’10, so perhaps he has experimented with these in the past and prefers the feel of the standard 27-inch handle. However, this is purely speculation as there hasn’t been any information released on this.
He also possesses delightful touch in his game; executing the sweetest drop shots with a deftness of touch without parallel. There’s a reason he’s known as “The Magician” on tour!
Cool Following Note: The other player known as “The Magician” on tour was no other than the Frenchman, Fabrice Santoro. One of our staff members, Dave Ireland, who is our lead coach in our Monthly Membership Program was fortunate to play against Santoro at the US Open.
Click Here to learn about what it was like to play against “The Magician”.
Thinking About Your Game
I think quite a lot of club players out there will be able to relate in some way to the magical Italian! Although he has plenty of firepower, he is pretty short for a professional tennis player (like our Bro Tom at 5’9) and doesn’t possess anywhere near the leverage as some of the bigger hitters on tour.
For this reason, the shorter club player should find inspiration in Fognini. His Pure Drive and polyester string setup would be ideal for a shorter player looking to generate some extra free power, but still with the control provided by the string – specifically, RPM Blast, which we love.
We’ve reviewed both all of the Babolat Pure Drive range – even the rocket launcher that is the Pure Drive Tour Plus! You should also check out our RPM Blast review.
Finally, if you would like any further help selecting the perfect racket and string combination for your game, please check out our Online Custom Fitting Packages.
Article by: Tom