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View Full Version : Is the Babolat 'era' over?


djones
05-05-2009, 08:28 AM
I wonder, as I haven't been following that much of tennis lately, if Babolat is still leading the atp/wta tour by miles?

Only 3 players out of the top-30 are Babolat users right now.

Is Wilson and Head catching up lately?

Mick
05-05-2009, 08:36 AM
yeah but both the number 1 ranked players in the world are using Babolat raquets: Nadal and Safina

jonas-the-ball-basher
05-05-2009, 08:40 AM
yeah but both the number 1 ranked players in the world are using Babolat raquets: Nadal and Safina

Well okay, but for years Wilson held the number 1 spot, both at the atp and wta tour.

Federer, Williams and Henin.

Mick
05-05-2009, 08:53 AM
Well okay, but for years Wilson held the number 1 spot, both at the atp and wta tour.

Federer, Williams and Henin.

no dispute there but the OP is asking if the Babolat 'era' is over.
it is not over if both the number one players in the atp and wta are using Babolat :)

ryushen21
05-05-2009, 09:03 AM
It's hard to say especially with all the PJs that are being used today on the pro tours. But on paper I'm pretty sure that Wilson has the most players.

But the Babolat Era is definitely not over.

kalic
05-05-2009, 09:07 AM
No. Most brands promote stiff midplus racquets. And that's babolat legacy :)

maximo
05-05-2009, 09:13 AM
HEAD has the most players in the top 100.

RoddickAce
05-05-2009, 09:16 AM
It has just started! >=D hahahahaha!

TBobLP
05-05-2009, 09:27 AM
do i have to like this thread?

Nanshiki
05-05-2009, 09:45 AM
Babolat has only been making racquets for 15 years. So, no, their era is not over.

West Coast Ace
05-05-2009, 05:14 PM
It has just started! >=D hahahahaha!You're joking - but I'm not.

I think Babolat is doing a great job lining up juniors. I see good things for them in the future.

I'm a Head guy and don't think they're doing well. They may have the highest #'s on the ATP - but look who. Murray with his jacked up teeth (all my female tennis friends make fun of him) and dour personality and The Joker, more or less universally despised for his arrogance and gamesmanship, aren't great faces for the company.

Wilson should be worried with the Fed situation. I'm sure the Sisters help sell to women. But given most men's (at least in the US) opinion of them they aren't necessarily great for sales either.

delphi17
05-06-2009, 02:02 AM
babolat is also promoting themselves with the upcoming release of virtua tennis on wii, and the racquet will house the babolat aero pro stickers and racquet shape,

so, basically that is going to turn a lot of future tennis players that are lured into the tennis world via the game side, which in turn will build a stable foundation for the "next" babolat era...

Bolivian Ace
05-06-2009, 06:21 AM
You're joking - but I'm not.

I think Babolat is doing a great job lining up juniors. I see good things for them in the future.

I'm a Head guy and don't think they're doing well. They may have the highest #'s on the ATP - but look who. Murray with his jacked up teeth (all my female tennis friends make fun of him) and dour personality and The Joker, more or less universally despised for his arrogance and gamesmanship, aren't great faces for the company.

Wilson should be worried with the Fed situation. I'm sure the Sisters help sell to women. But given most men's (at least in the US) opinion of them they aren't necessarily great for sales either.

Great point.....I also see a lot of pro-players using Head, and personally I like Head, but the future of pro tennis is in the juniors, If there are more juniors using twener raquets like babolats, for sure we'll have a lot of future pros using them. All of us always say that pro's don't want to chance raquets.!!!

jms007
05-06-2009, 06:25 AM
Over? Seems like it's just getting started. Every other kid in the country is using a Babolat.

VGP
05-06-2009, 06:43 AM
Great point.....I also see a lot of pro-players using Head, and personally I like Head, but the future of pro tennis is in the juniors, If there are more juniors using twener raquets like babolats, for sure we'll have a lot of future pros using them. All of us always say that pro's don't want to chance raquets.!!!

Developing brand loyalty when the kids are young is a large tactic in getting your brands out there. Look, Federer's played Wilson since he was a kid. Same with Nadal and Babolat. Federer stayed with it because of Sampras, Nadal because of Moya. Heck, even Sampras stayed with Wilson after his transition from his Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff (even though he used Kneissl and Donnays).

For Babolat, their gamble was securing Roddick on the men's side (at least in the US). They got him to change from Prince right when he was turning pro (kinda late in the game). IMO, Moya secured it in Spain precluded by Corretja.

A good barometer on a brand's future is looking at the 14 and unders and what they're using. Barring some huge technological leap forward (i.e. tweeners and poly strings), that's where it's at.

Not for frames, but in shoes and apparel it was interesting to watch a program on TTC on the Nike Junior Tour Master's tournament. They invite a lot of top juniors to come play (the kids come because it's even more prestigious now that Nadal's won it) and they give the kids a ton of free Nike stuff. That makes a huge impression on a kid.

anotherbabolatkid
05-06-2009, 08:04 AM
No. Most brands promote stiff midplus racquets. And that's babolat legacy :)

yeah... i'm very suspect to talk about it since i've been playing with pure drives for ages.

i think babolat's legacy is helping kids (i mean 12/14 yearolds) to have more fun playing tennis no matter what they end up playing with when the get older. most brands saw that, Head's Head MicroGEL Extreme Pro is a great follower of babolat's legacy.

i remember how tough it was to play for 4 hours a day back in the day with a wilson pro staff 6.1 so i couldn't be more thankful babolat came out with the pure drive

right now babolat is probably profiting a lot from the full of spin game. but it's not easy to play with as much as spin as nadal so i'm not sure how long that style will last on the ATP but for kids playing local tournaments and practicing on a regular basis i think there is no better frame than pure drives and it's copycats...

jimwh
05-06-2009, 08:41 AM
I can tell you at my local club the kids choice of racquet by far is Wilson. Babolat would come in second though.

Fliparoni
05-06-2009, 09:07 AM
I see Head racquets being played with a lot in the places that I frequent.

slice bh compliment
05-06-2009, 09:24 AM
Good points above. If I may add:

Babolat is covering pretty much all bases -- the stiff midplus, the oversize, the player's frames (the Storms, especially the Storm Tour and Storm Ltd.), and also the aero shape hitting the tech/wii crowd.

Babolat is really popular among juniors, college players, upcoming pros and also hackers.

Babolat makes amazing shoes. Their shoes are even better than their sticks, imho.

A particularly good point ^above, by VGP^ is about loyalty to a brand a player grows up with. I would definitely consider a Davis, Donnay, Bancroft or a Garcia if they were still around. Even today, 35 years after starting tennis, my hand gravitates toward the Dunlop demo rack (since I used a maxply, a Maxply Mac and a Max 200g for most of my tournament years).

That said, I also like Fischers and Volkls (which I had previsouly associated with skiiing), and Babolat which I only vaguely thought of as the name behind VS gut and the overgrip formerly known as 'Gripsy' (a play on Gypsy?)

So, to answer the question, I think Babolat has enjoyed a lot of success reinventing/repositioning/re-branding itself...and I bet they are headed for more success.

Razda
05-06-2009, 09:24 AM
Around my area, generally the people with one-hands backhands stick with Wilson. The people with the two-hander dominantely play with Babolats. Just an observation.

slice bh compliment
05-06-2009, 09:29 AM
Yes, Razda, I can see that if you mean that most people with one-handers go with a Pro Staff and most people with Pure Drives hit a 2 hander, but....

The point needs to be made that some Wilsons are widebodies and some Babolats are players' frames.

I use a babolat Storm Ltd. And I have had a 1 handed BH since age 6. It is one of my best shots (besides the serve and overhead).

EDIT: counter-example.
My buddy's mom used a Wilson Hammer until the week she died. She had terrible strokes and bad tennis elbow. She was all about the 2 handed baseline bashing/no volley style. And she had tennis elbow all through her 70s.

Razda
05-06-2009, 09:53 AM
Yes, Slice you are correct. It was an observation in my area. People (who can play 4.0 or higher) with the one hand bh play with the prostaffs, N-codes and the Fed racquet. And obviously there are some other players who play with Wilson who aren't that good. In no way am I trying to say Babolats are only for two hand bhs or they don't make player racquets.

note: Glad you have a one backhand as your good shot. Very beautiful.

Dream_On
05-06-2009, 11:05 AM
There is no era...

I reckon around the world wilson get the most sales overall then head and babolat then prince then others

kanjii
05-06-2009, 11:37 AM
Around my area, generally the people with one-hands backhands stick with Wilson. The people with the two-hander dominantely play with Babolats. Just an observation.

Around your area, what wilson racquet are theu using if they have a western forehand?

Razda
05-06-2009, 12:18 PM
^I know only 2 people who play with a full western from where i play with a Wilson. Most play eastern to semi-western. One plays with the the Wilson nCode Six One Tour and my stringer (who plays level 5) plays with the Prostaff 6.1 Classic.

VGP
05-06-2009, 01:07 PM
There is no era...

I reckon around the world wilson get the most sales overall then head and babolat then prince then others

Well, they do use the slogan "#1 in Tennis" and I'm sure their sales figures reflect that.

Babolat will be around as long as there are people in the top 50 that are winning matches using their gear (i.e. on TV).

(Same goes for most companies)

S H O W S T O P P E R !
05-06-2009, 01:36 PM
Babolat and Wilson has the top talent, but HEAD isn't up there. They're #3 IMO because they sponsor everyone they can.

Bolivian Ace
05-07-2009, 08:36 AM
Babolat makes amazing shoes. Their shoes are even better than their sticks, imho.


Babolat Shoes are amazing, very close to Barricades.

gunnd5000
05-07-2009, 08:56 AM
im playing U14 tennis in the UK and used a PDR of ages untill i changed to a KBlade Tour but I cant think of anyone that i hit with thats my age that isnt using a babolat stick im being serious i know one boy thats using a k95 that i hit with and im switching back to babolat when the new pure drives come out. tthhe babolat era is not over.

gunnd5000
05-07-2009, 08:57 AM
Babolat Shoes are amazing, very close to Barricades.

sorry about double post but just noticed this post.

im using the propulse 2s ive have the propulses in both of the old colours and use team allcourt 3s jrs before that

anotherbabolatkid
05-07-2009, 12:58 PM
im playing U14 tennis in the UK and used a PDR of ages untill i changed to a KBlade Tour but I cant think of anyone that i hit with thats my age that isnt using a babolat stick im being serious i know one boy thats using a k95 that i hit with and im switching back to babolat when the new pure drives come out. tthhe babolat era is not over.

i don't think it's just about hype or top players playing with. Pure Drive makes the game so much more fun when u are a junior. Sure Babolat sells more sticks cos of Nadal and Roddick. But for junior tennis i feel like the "Bobolat era" as a concept still has a long way to go. I'm sure Babolat works really hard to make sure it is with Pure Drives. Probably, for most of us it doesn't really matter if it's a PD or Head MG Extreme as long as it's something that makes the game more "friendly".

you can argue that kids could play with really low tensions. that's something u can see if u go to junior events but as far as technology goes nowadays i doubt there is something that helps kids make their games more powerful than puredrives with poly strings.

West Coast Ace
05-07-2009, 07:59 PM
Over? Seems like it's just getting started. Every other kid in the country is using a Babolat.That's what I thought when I saw the OPs statement. In 10 yrs Babolat could very possibly have a huge % of the top pros - seems like almost all promising juniors I see talked up on TV, on websites, and in tennis magazines are in the Babolat fold. Of course you never know who's going to make it and who will flame out. Wilson and Head could luck out and pick the right ones. But there's strength in numbers - and Babolat has it right now.

myboyracer
05-07-2009, 11:40 PM
How about PRINCE?

Cheers!

mbr.

slice bh compliment
05-08-2009, 07:47 AM
One of my college teammates who is now a coach at an academy emailed me this list this morning. He is the one who advised me to try the Storm Ltd. Love it. Anyway, he sent me this tally of the racquet brands used by players in the Easter Bowl. I also posted the list in the Babolat Alliance thread.

This, from the last Easter Bowl:
214 kids playing with a Babolat
151 Wilsonians
97 Heads
97 Princes and Princesses
18 Flyin' the Flying D
13 Yonies
5 Fischers
4 Volkls
and an adidas in a pear tree.

I'd be interested to see the breakdown within the Babolat group: Storms, PDs, AeroProDrives, Aero Storms, Storm Tours, Storm Limiteds, etc. I will ask him to ask his rep.

Razda
05-08-2009, 08:40 AM
Thanks for sharing. Not even one Tecnifibre user? In all, I am not surprised seeing Babolats dominating the younger generation. See them all the time. Even I, a Tecnifibre user, has a pair APDC in my collection.

slice bh compliment
05-08-2009, 08:52 AM
Yeah, I thought Tecnifibre was on the rise. I know for sure that some college kids in D1 use one of the red ones....but I guess not a one in the Easter Bowl.

anotherbabolatkid
05-08-2009, 04:24 PM
One of my college teammates who is now a coach at an academy emailed me this list this morning. He is the one who advised me to try the Storm Ltd. Love it. Anyway, he sent me this tally of the racquet brands used by players in the Easter Bowl. I also posted the list in the Babolat Alliance thread.

This, from the last Easter Bowl:
214 kids playing with a Babolat
151 Wilsonians
97 Heads
97 Princes and Princesses
18 Flyin' the Flying D
13 Yonies
5 Fischers
4 Volkls
and an adidas in a pear tree.

I'd be interested to see the breakdown within the Babolat group: Storms, PDs, AeroProDrives, Aero Storms, Storm Tours, Storm Limiteds, etc. I will ask him to ask his rep.


I think it would also be cool to see how many of the Head kids are playing with the MG Extreme (Pro) cos i think the point of the topic is the babolat concept of the PD and there are a few sticks out there that try really hard to feel like PD... the MG Extreme Pro is one of them...

about the tecnifibers... the TFlash 315 VO2 Max is a bit softer but it also feels pretty close to PureDrives... I've been playing with puredrives for awhile... i feel some people are going to disagree but the TFlash 315 VO2 Max might be the closest thing out there to the first PureDrive.

slice bh compliment
05-09-2009, 06:56 PM
Yeah, true about the HEAD MG Extremes...total ripoff. There is a Boris Becker that looks like a PD. Also a Dunlop 500 or 500 tour that looks like konckoffs of the PD and the PD Roddick.

Of course the PD itself is a knockoff of what...an old Pro Kennex?

I guess the WOOFER system and some really great timing did the trick for Babolat.

Funny, it's the Ptd that's got me believing the hype. And also the shoes. Man, I love these All Court 4s.

OliverSimon
05-09-2009, 07:42 PM
Yes exactly babolat is a very popular junior stick

snoopy
05-09-2009, 08:02 PM
As others have suggested, are we talking about simply Babolat the brand or the type of racquets that Babolat is known for, thicker, stiffer frames with lots of power?

In either case, Babolat is here to stay.

anotherbabolatkid
05-10-2009, 06:34 PM
oh yeah... i totally assumed we were talking about pure drives since every other frame babolat makes is quite similar to everything else previously available... and lets face it... what wilson and head have been doing is great and effective but pure drives are really fun to play with!

slice bh compliment, i don't think Head MG Extreme and the others are ripoffs... it actually gives people more options within a certain similar spec which is always good i guess... and it also pushes babolat to come up with new things... since Head came up with the instinct and then the extreme babolat started to make faster updates to the pure drive/aerodrive line... even though i like the pure drive cortex i don't wanna convince anyone that the updates are good or make the frame better... it's just something new to try...

VictorS.
05-10-2009, 07:07 PM
I personally think Head is the leading brand in the Men's game right now.

Murray: plays with the Radical

Djokovic: recently switched to Head Speed Pro. Some people don't realize that Djokovic played with head in the juniors. Nothing new for him

Simon: Prestige

Gasquet: Extreme Pro

Wawrinka: Prestige

Cilic: Radical

Safin: Prestige

Schuttler: Prestige

Soderling: Radical

Chardy: Radical

Acasuso: Prestige

Gulbis: Radical

Santoro: Radical

When you look at that list you see a good mix of elite players (Murray/Djoko), up & comers (Gulbis, Simon, Cilic), & veterans of the game (Santoro, Safin, Wawrinka). In addition, to these great players, there are numerous players that have played with Head forever & just recently switched to different brands (monfils, tursunov, karlovic).

Rickson
05-10-2009, 07:30 PM
Babolat is here to stay.

ChuDat
06-17-2009, 08:46 PM
I personally think Head is the leading brand in the Men's game right now.

Murray: plays with the Radical

Djokovic: recently switched to Head Speed Pro. Some people don't realize that Djokovic played with head in the juniors. Nothing new for him

Simon: Prestige

Gasquet: Extreme Pro

Wawrinka: Prestige

Cilic: Radical

Safin: Prestige

Schuttler: Prestige

Soderling: Radical

Chardy: Radical

Acasuso: Prestige

Gulbis: Radical

Santoro: Radical

When you look at that list you see a good mix of elite players (Murray/Djoko), up & comers (Gulbis, Simon, Cilic), & veterans of the game (Santoro, Safin, Wawrinka). In addition, to these great players, there are numerous players that have played with Head forever & just recently switched to different brands (monfils, tursunov, karlovic).

Gulbis uses the prestige and I also never knew he was with Babolat before.

Nanshiki
06-17-2009, 09:00 PM
I think Head is big in Europe... designed (and used to be made) in Austria after-all. Most of those guys are European or Russian.

Wilson and Prince are both American companies, which probably turns off some Europeans... Babolat is a much newer company (has only made racquets since 1995). And Yonex is Japanese... and is also primarily a badminton company.

Aces09
06-19-2009, 12:15 PM
No way the babolat era is over. The modern baseliner's hit with such heavy topspin and racquet head speed that a lightweight, somewhat-widebody racquet with an open string pattern, aka almost every babolat racquet ever made, is an easy choice for tennis players.

slice bh compliment
06-19-2009, 12:29 PM
Yeah, it's just starting, really.

I don't like the Pure Drive style of frame, but even that feels decent for a thick, stiff frame.

Anyway, great brand: strings, grips, shoes and sticks (especially the Pure Storm Tour and the PSLtd). They even make the best hats and wristbands. And bags.

Aces09
06-19-2009, 12:35 PM
one complaint I have about babolat is stability. I tried adding crap loads of lead in all sorts of different places and still had stability problems. The power and spin is almost unmatched. I used a pure drive cortex standard before switching to the Prestige MP, because with a 17 gauge string I get just the right amount of spin and more than enough control. Also, the stability is kickass.

slice bh compliment
06-20-2009, 05:52 AM
one complaint I have about babolat is stability....


Really? Which Babolat lacks stability?

The ones I've tried are amazing (PC/PST, PSL, AST, and even the PDR and PS Team though it's a little light).
I feel all of them are incredibly solid off center and in the upper hoop. They are all on the stiff side (I come from Dunlop Max 200g/Puma Becker Pro and Volkl frames), but the woofer system makes them feel pretty sweet.

Not that the HEAD you're using isn't. The Prestige line is great.

My 2 cents.

dincuss
06-20-2009, 07:10 AM
one complaint I have about babolat is stability. I tried adding crap loads of lead in all sorts of different places and still had stability problems. The power and spin is almost unmatched. I used a pure drive cortex standard before switching to the Prestige MP, because with a 17 gauge string I get just the right amount of spin and more than enough control. Also, the stability is kickass.

lolwut?

are you talking about the same racquet?