Holger Rune Racket and Strings (Weight, String Tension & More)
Holger Rune has seemingly burst onto the professional tennis scene this past year. Yet, scratch a little below the surface and you'll discover a prodigious talent. Formidable in junior tournaments, he's made the leap to pro status look easy. So, we take a look under the hood at Rune's racket and strings set-up.
In 2021 the world was watching Carlos Alcaraz take the tennis world by storm, using his Babolat Pure Aero VS to devastating effect, winning the US Open and becoming the world number one. Today, history is repeating with Danish sensation Holger Rune using the exact same racket to a similar effect.
Babolat is thriving right now. They have two of the game’s brightest young stars using their Pure Aero VS frame and naturally, we cannot help but wonder about the racket. Is Babolat’s creation the common denominator?
One overriding compliment to give the Pure Aero VS is its versatility. Alacaraz plays a game predicated on spin and muscle, offset by the occasional and very well-executed drop-shot. Rune meanwhile, hits a flatter ball with his hallmarks of speed and precision. And with equal aplomb, the Pure Aero VS serves each style incredibly well.
Rune actually played Babolat’s Pure Drive for a while. Maybe the larger 100sq inch footprint and open (16×19) string-bed helped his game up to a certain level, but now that his physicality and skills have improved exponentially, a move to the slightly smaller 98sq inch Pure Aero VS makes perfect sense. The smaller frame still offers the Dane power, but critically it offers Holger much greater control – enhanced even further by a slightly denser 16×20 string pattern.
As we have seen, Rune is playing a 98sq inch Pure Aero VS with a 16×20 string-bed, and from what we gather, this racket is virtually identical to the retail model. Yes, his collection of frames is likely to be individually matched to ensure frame-to-frame consistency, but there is no sign that Rune’s racket is a pro-stock frame disguised as a regular Pure Aero VS – a familiar tactic used by manufacturers to encourage sales of any current retail offering.
Interestingly, there is a trend developing that sees some top-tier professionals play with lighter frames. Historically, elite players have favored heavy frames with substantial swing-weights. Still, with speed and maneuverability becoming more prevalent within the modern game, lighter frames are being used to accentuate the game style of players such as Rune and Alcaraz.
Racket: Babolat Pure Aero VS
Strung weight: 315g
Lead tape: None that we are aware of
Grip: Babolat VS Overgrip
String pattern: 16×20
The similarities between Rune and Carlos Alcaraz do not end at their frames, they both string their Pure Aero VS with Babolat’s renowned RPM Blast, a stiff poly that trades heavily in spin and is also found in the frame of a certain Rafael Nadal too.
Rune strings his rackets at circa 25.5kgs (56lbs) and with the Pure Aero VS being a reasonably stout frame with a stiffness rating (RA) of 67, this is definitely a young and supple player’s set-up and one to avoid if you suffer with arm sensitivity. Nonetheless, if you can handle the harshness and provide your own power, stiffness equals control while the string itself is shaped to bring class-leading spin to the table.
If you have arm sensitivity there are a number of stellar options to try – check out our take on the Wilson Clash, Babolat’s Pure Strike VS, and the Pro Kennex line – a variety of frames for all abilities, each one easy on your joints.
Why Does This Combination Work for Rune?
Rune is lightning-quick. He plays tennis at a blistering pace and the biggest challenge for his equipment is to add control without compromising his strengths. So in retrospect, it makes perfect sense as to why he migrated away from the Pure Drive, a racket that emphasizes power but can be sketchy when you already possess the kind of racket speed being generated by a player of Rune’s caliber.
The Pure Aero VS by contrast is no slouch, but at 98sq inches and with a more control-oriented string-bed it allows Rune to play his natural full-bore brand of tennis without sacrificing complete control. Then, when Rune adds a spin-centric string at a high tension he makes doubly sure of getting sufficient control from his set-up with only a minor drop-off in power – a perfect example of how the marriage between frame, string, and tension can be engineered to fulfill a specific brief.
Thinking About Your Own Game
So, can you successfully copy the set-up used by Rune, and indeed Alcaraz?
There are club players who can use this combination, but they are likely to be athletic movers and aggressive hitters. This exact combination of frame, string, and tension tends to offer the biggest rewards to players who routinely provide their own power. For ‘pushers’ and anyone with tender elbows, we say the frame is playable. However, the string or the string tension at the very least will need rethinking.
So, if you are intrigued by the Pure Aero VS but do not have Holger’s power or suppleness, you can still play this frame – as the aforementioned versatility can work for players at all levels. But crucially, opt for a multifilament or co-poly at a lower tension to offset the frame’s inherent stiffness. And if you are absolutely set on replicating Holger’s exact same combination of frame and string, do not be afraid to tone down the tension – nobody can tell your tension by looking. So, your secret is safe with the Bros!
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