PDA

View Full Version : Aeropro : Technology at work?.....


monologuist
03-01-2005, 02:40 PM
Aeropro Control + review (I also tried the Drive +, but did not spend as much time with it, as the Control + kind of "grabbed" my attention from the getgo)

First off....let me say that for once, I am convinced that racquet technology has actually created something that truly offers an appreciable difference in playability for the first time in a long time. Whatever Babolat has got going in the fusion of Aero, Woofer, and whatever other technology is involved in their new line of racquets, has created a tennis racquet that feels and plays unlike anything I have ever been accustomed to. From the whistling sound as the racquet cuts through the air, to the strange "disconnected" feel of the racquet, hitting a tennis ball really became a new and different experience for me.

Feel: I am not sure I "like" the feel of these Babolats, having preferred both the traditional, stiff and accurate play of Wilsons, or the flexy, ball-cupping feel of Yonexes in the past. With the Babolats, you really feel like you are playing with some sort of piece of "modern technology". Gone is that old school feedback, and ball feel. In its place is some sort of strange nether-experience of tennis, where the racquet seems to almost take on a life of its own :

Spin : The Babolat "Aero" shape is a strange and amazing thing : if you use a semi-western or western grip, these things slice through the air with an effortlessness I have never experienced, especially considering the somewhat large (midplus) heads. The racquet speed you can generate is astonishing. Result : topspin that I have never come close to achieving. As long as I maintained proper swing mechanics, it seemed that no matter how hard I hit the ball, it would nosedive within the baseline and jump straight up! Thing is, rather than back off on my swing, I found it impossible to not start taking bigger and bigger cuts at the ball, something I recall others having describerd in previous posts. That said, I found myself getting tired rather quickly, as my body simply was not used to the added energy expenditure. I'm used ot hitting a flatter ball, and assuming the gains and risks of this. I tend to hit a lot of winners this way, but also suffer some errors by hitting long. But with the Aeropro Control, I found it very difficult to hit long, as the topspin was just so effortless and unavoidable!

Power : Another strange thing was that the racquet seemed like it would feel very stiff based on specs and just feeling the racquet itself. But, On the forehand wing, the racquet really felt surprisingly soft and dampened. When I flattened out my shots, like I do sometimes on my 1 hh backhand and flat serves, it did feel stiff, but still not as stiff as specs would indicate. Shots hit in the upper 25% of the hoop did feel rather stiff and dead though. I found myself having to adjust my backhand, hitting th ball closer to my body to avoid this dead zone, otherwie I would leave a lot of balls short. Not sure if I like that, but perhaps something that could be fixed with some lead? Then again, that might make this thing even more tiring to use. In any case, this is a very powerful racquet if you are strong enough to get it moving. I was surprised to find that it seemed to be more powerful than their Drive model on most shots, especially serves. Speaking of serves, I was able to hit bigger bombs on my first serve with the Aeropro Control than any racquet I have yet tried. In general, I'd say that this racquet has less control and more power than most others in its class; not really a true "control racquet". Something in between control and tweener maybe.

Maneuverability : It did seem to swing much lighter than the specs would indicate (345 swingweight). But as I mentioned before, the racquet kept making me wanna swing faster and harder, and this made me tire faster than usual. In any case, for an extended length 12 oz. + racquet, it seemed to be relatively easy to maneuver both at the baseline and at the net.

Now I didn't get a chance to test this thing out at the net that much, so I can't really give a fair assessment. But I will say that this thing seemed born for a specific purpose in mind : to machine gun a barrage of high pace topsin groundstrokes and blistering serves. I know the original Pure Drive and Control models were designed to do likewise, but Babolat has successfully taken this paradigm of power tennis to the next level, like it or not. For this type of game, I think there has never been a weapon created as effective as the new Aeropro's. That said, I think you'd have to let go of more traditional ways of evaluating a racquet, in terms of "feel", or "touch", as these racquet possess little of that. Instead, I found myself forced to evaluate based on the actual shotmaking results, which at times were really impressive and effortless, despite the disconcerting (and not satisfying) actual sensation of ball-striking. I'm not sure if this is the best thing for a player that is still developing their all-around game, but I imagine thre are many out there who are looking more for a weapon to solve the immediate goal of winning tennis matches. If this sounds at all confusing, suffice to say, this is a strange and new beast that you just have to try at least once yourself!

El Diablo
03-01-2005, 03:12 PM
Last point is well taken -- think college and Little League baseball, and consider the "feel" of wood bats versus the feel and performance of metal bats. Feels suffers, but the standard of the game changes, for better or worse.

ffrpg
03-01-2005, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the review. It makes me really wanna take this thing out for a demo. I'm curious, do you normally hit with extended racquets? I've always used a 27'' racquet and I'm actually thinking about making the switch to a slighty longer racquet.

Nastase
03-01-2005, 06:37 PM
Really appreciate the review and insight. I wonder if it swings lighter than the Pure Control Plus..a racquet I liked but just couldnt get around. All comments I have seen indicate the Aero makes it swing lighter despite weight. Would also be interested to know what racquet you typically use, for comparison. Thanks again.

esrb
03-01-2005, 08:39 PM
Did u noticed any difference between the Pure Control + and this new Aeropro??
TIA,
Enrique

SC in MA
03-02-2005, 09:27 AM
....First off....let me say that for once, I am convinced that racquet technology has actually created something that truly offers an appreciable difference in playability for the first time in a long time...
First, thanks for the great review. I found the statement quoted above very interesting. I'm a long time user of traditional players rackets (HL, heavy). I've made some incremental improvements to my game over the years thru some racket changes and also thru the old-fashioned, working on my stroke mechanics. I'm always looking to improve my game and hearing something like this is very intriguing. Sort of an old school vs new. I remember the days of wood rackets when the first Prince oversize came out (the green one). "Real" players laughed at it calling it a snowshoe, etc. That racket fundamentally changed tennis. (I kind of regret that I was a longtime holdout, clinging to my wood rackets while others had made the switch to the new technology.)

Anyway, do you think the new AeroPro will make the same appreciable difference to the way tennis is played that the original Prince did, or is the AeroPro more like an incremental improvement to the technology already introduced by Babolat?

Which ever it is, I'm definitely itchin' to give it a try ! :-) Thanks again for the review.

monologuist
03-02-2005, 12:36 PM
ffrpg...I have used extended length racquets for the last year or so, taking the advice given to me to use a racquet that adds to what are already your strengths, and since my serve is my greatest weapon, I find the extra 0,5" to be a nice little boost.

As far as comparison to the Pure Control +, it is really a different beast. IT feels like a totally different racquet to me, much the same way the Aeropro Drive ifeels significantly different than the Pure Drive, although I'd say evan a more drastic difference. Just looking at the shape of the beam in the head and throat, you'll see that it is not the same animal. It swings slightly heavier than the PC + on serves I'd say, but slightly lighter on groundstrokes if you use semi-western or western grip, and can generate good racquet speed, due to the advantages of the aero shape.

SCin MA, I'd say it's definitely less of a difference than the invention of the OS size or the advent of non-wood racquets, but I just meant to point out that it is not just one of these marketing ploys like we see every year from various manufacturers, where the technology seems to serve the dual role of hyping a line of racquets and maybe even cheapening them in quality! Basically what the Aero shape technology does for you is it allows you to swing a heavier bat at faster speeds than you wuld be able to normally. That to me is a pretty profound technology....given that the heavier a racquet you can swing, the heavier a ball you can hit, the more control you'll have, the more stability you'll have,etc. So if you're not quite strong wnough to swing a 12 oz. racquet normally, the added swingspeed afforded by the aero shape can compensate for that. And if you already use a 12 oz. racquet effectively, then you're gonna be able to really get this thing moving. Now that said, I'm not sure that it won't still tire you out if you're not used to a player's racquet; as I said before, you'll end up expending a lot of energy playing with this thing, cuz it will practically force you to swing for the fences!