Babolat AeroPro Racquet Playtest

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TW Staff, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    SFrazeur,

    Long answer short, we set these up a little different than placing an order. If you must know your shipping, send an email (as you did) and I will get the tracking number on your racquet.

    Brittany, TW
     
  2. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i hope TW putting tracking on chris/spencer- TW cant afford to lose them in the mail!;)
     
  3. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Hey Brittany,

    I got the racquet today, looks pretty sweet. I appreciate you send me the stick to review! I looked in the box and could not find the return label. I have no problem paying for shipping, after all you are sending me something special to test, just wanted to give you the heads up that some other playtesters might not have the return labels.

    Thanks again!

    CluckCluck
     
  4. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Which state are you in? Just wondering cause i have to leave somewhere and don't want the racquet sitting in the rain.
     
  5. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    I'm in Southern California.
     
  6. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Ohhh ok. I'm up in Washington. :/ Hopefully comes by tomorrow morning before work.
     
  7. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    I hope you have indoor courts (I'm jealous if you do).
     
  8. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Oh yes. Of course!!! :p. Plenty in Washington due to the crummy weather.
     
  9. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Well, next time I head up there I'm looking you up for a bit of combat ;)
     
  10. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    I will gladly accept that challenge!
     
  11. JDMasFCK

    JDMasFCK Semi-Pro

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    I received my racquet today and looked inside the box and there was no return sticker :O I was wondering if I could use one of the old return sticker (the one that's for the shipping department) from my old order to send it back when I'm done play testing or do I need a specific return sticker? :O
     
  12. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    I'm guessing that would work.
     
  13. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Want to come over to the Inland Empire and have a Babolat Playtest Battle? :razz:
     
  14. JDMasFCK

    JDMasFCK Semi-Pro

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    aha that's too far :p
     
  15. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Thank you.

    Mine's expected to arrive Monday.

    -SF
     
  16. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    realistic it only cost like 7.50 to ship a racket, so thats pretty good for demoing brand new frame
     
  17. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Hopefully i don't come home to see the racquet box drenched in water. T-T
     
  18. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    you dont have like a porch or anything?
     
  19. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    I do but every time i put a note saying " Put next to door" they just stack it on the staircase where it isnt covered.....
     
  20. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    guess you wont get picked next time;)

    jk i am sure it will be fine
     
  21. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I am so sorry about that. We can email you a return shipping label. Have fun playtesting. Send us an email and I will take care of that.

    That should work, otherwise we can email you a return shipping label. Send us an email if you would like one.

    Brittany, TW
     
  22. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Brittany! I'll look for a label from previous order...how long do they last?
     
  23. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Just quickly came by my home and found the glory in front of my door! And best of all. . . . It was sunny. . . . Just saw the truck coming by the neighborhood so i decided to go follow it! haha
     
  24. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Hahah! Sweet! Did you get a return label?
     
  25. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    Nope. 10char
     
  26. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    In this day and age, is there really no way that these play tests can be made to include testers from the UK!? Come on, guys, you know it makes sense... :mrgreen:
     
  27. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Update:

    We have emailed all playtesters return shipping labels.


    Thanks,

    Brittany, TW
     
  28. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    where you based ross
     
  29. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I picked up my brand new AeroPro Drive 2013 today.
    Cosmetics = mostly matte black with white and yellow designs, and metallic red highlights.
    The black is nice - would look much cooler with less white and yellow though.
    It has a black plastic cortex with white trim, and white synthetic grip.

    Measured Stock Specs (strung with RPM Blast):
    Wt = 11.40 oz.; Bal = 13.08"; SW = 325; MgR/I = 21.75, MgR'/I' = 22.53
    Beam throat = 22mm; Beam at 3-and-9 = 25.5mm; Beam at tip = 22.5mm
    Length = 26.9" (not sure if shorter length is the relaxed length or due to squashing from stringing)

    RPM Blast stringbed feels firm with good bite and stable feel when bouncing the ball in my living room. I will be gradually expanding this post with updates in the course of my review.

    Current Frame:
    Prostaff 4.7 EB Stretch OS, heavily leaded up to 365 SW, 12.55” bal., 13.545 oz.
    This is an extended 27.75” long frame with 23mm beam and 68 RA stiffness, and 115” headsize. I string it with 18g ashaway Kevlar / 17g Silverstring at 65 lbs. the string pattern is 18x20, but I skip the upper and lower crosses, as well as the outer mains, using only the central 16x18 strings.

    Level: 4.5-5.0
    Age: 39
    Playing style: I have a versatile style of play. I can hit just about any type of shot. I play a very athletic style and am quick around the court. I can play defense, moonball, attack with groundies, approach, and S&V.
    My strengths are my speed and athleticism, and my 2hb, heavy serve, and net play. I like heavy stable frames.
    -------------------
    Day 1, playtest 1A (racquet in stock form):
    Forehands 1A:
    I wasn’t able to find a groove with racquet on my forehand. The racquet would lag unless I added a wrist couple, and I had to focus hard on timing my wrist release to control the ball (a less headlight balance for the same mass and swingweight would have alleviated this issue). The spin level was moderate, but the full poly stringjob didn’t seem predictable enough. I got decent bite when a took a big rip, but on softer touch shots, the ball seemed to slide across the strings more, making directional contro more difficult. The stringbed was less predictable than my preferred Kevlar /poly setup. My biggest issue is that I could feel mmy forearm and wrist getting sore by the end of the session – this was mainly due to the 4-3/8 grip, which caused me to need to squeeze the grip tighter than my preferred 4-5/8”. Also, the lagging balance exacerbated the wrist fatigue.
    2hbs 1A:
    The racquet felt balanced about right for my 2hb, and the racquet was much more comfortable for me here. I had decent control on my shots. I appreciated the crisp feel. However, the stability was much lower than I’m used to. I could sense that the upper part of the hoop was a little deficient in mass, while the sides of the hoop seemed to be more substantial. If I were to add lead, it would be under the bumper.
    Volleys 1A:
    Very crisp feel. The stringbed was a little softer than I like, but still serviceable. A lighter racquet than I usually play with, but I could probably get the job done with this. Compared to the other 100si stiff frame I sometimes use (Gamma T5), I like the feel of volleying with the AeroPro more. This frame feels like it has a very stable design for its weight class.
    Serves 1A:
    The stiff feel lent precision, and I could get nice bend and kick. But the light weight really hurt my velocity. I’m used to serving with 365 SW frames, so my motion needs some adjustment to get the same velocity with a lighter frame. The impact of serving with the lighter weight stiff frame started to hurt my elbow after 10 serves or so (so I couldn’t afford to be patient and try to adjust).
    Returns 1A:
    Again, I liked the stable construction. For me stability is more important to returning well than maneuverability. This wasn’t a fair test for this frame, since my leaded up usual frame is so superior at returns. However, I think the APD could be a great return racquet if sufficiently modified.

    Day 1, Playtest 1B (11g added at top of grip, plus 9g added at butt):
    I wanted to give the racquet a fairer test by configuring it in a way that overcame my issues with the lagging balance on my forehand. I wrapped 11g around the top of the handle (without undoing the adhesive backing, and securing with the rubber band at to of grip). And then stuck a 9g wad of lead to the end of the butt. This allowed me to modify the balance without needing to fuss with unwrapping the grip.
    This moved the MgR/I value to my preferred 21.0.
    Groundstrokes 1B:
    This allowed me to groove my forehand, and I enjoyed hitting groundstrokes on both sides much more. However, the added mass at the top of the grip noticeably stiffened the feel, which was not great for spin. In this configuration the frame hit a fairly flat ball, flatter than my regular frame.
    Volleys 1B:
    Volleys were similar to with the stock configuration, but I liked the depth control better with the added mass in the handle. Maneuverability was also slightly improved with the more HL balance.
    Serves 1B:
    The added mass seemed to make the frame a little more powerfully and less spinny than stock. It was still more difficult to generate velocity than withmy normal high swingweight frame though. And unfortunately, serving with the light-headed frame still tenderized my elbow a bit.
    Returns 1B:
    I had a much easier time returning accurately with the added mass in the handle. But heavy serves still seemed to bully the racquet a lot more than I’m used to with my more stable usual racquet.

    Day 2, Playtest 2 (12 grams added to upper half of hoop, plus 5g at butt):
    I took it home and said, what the heck. Let’s try out the “Nadal configuration.” I added long strips of lead all the way around the upper half of the hoop from 3 to 9. Plus a few grams in a 2nd layer at 12. About 12g added to the hoop. And also stuck on about 5g of lead to the end of the butt.
    Forehands 2:
    Then I came out and used a stronger full semiwestern grip and took big upper cuts at the ball. Viola!. This racquet came alive on forehands with this added weight. The stringbed felt much more solid and comfortable. And the RPM blast strings seemed to work much better with the leaded frame, with much more predictable response and no sliding across the bed like I noticed with the stock specs. It hit a much heavier ball, with much more rpm, and more pace too. I had to focus on spacing the ball farther from my body to hit with a straighter arm technique than I am used to, but when I did, the results were very nice.
    My 2hbs were not quite balanced perfectly, but still controllable, and the extra mass in the head much improved the feel on these too.
    Volleys 2:
    I liked volleying best with this setup of the 3 I tested. It really enlarged the sweetspot and felt solid. I’m used to an even heavier setup, so maneuverability wasn’t an issue.
    Serves 2:
    I could get heavy spin and kick. The extra weight helped a lot. And felt much softer on the elbow. However, the 26.9” length (which helped with control on the forehand and volleys) seemed to make the racquet a touch short for the leverage that I like. I currently play with a 27.75” OS frame, where the center of the stringbed is about ¼” further from the hand than with this APD. So I might have enjoyed serving better if the length was 1/8” to ¼” longer.
    Overall 2:
    I think that this type of racquet really shines best with this type of weighting. And I honestly think Babolat would sell a lot of sticks if they offered it with these specs (~365 SW, 13.3” balance, and about 12 oz.)

    Conclusions:
    In stock form, this stick is much too light for my tastes. However, I think it is a solid, well-engineered offering. The rigid hoop gives a crisp response. I would probably be able to play confidently with this if I were to lead it up to the weighting specs of my current frame.
    I was a little disappointed that the frame was so similar to past offerings from Babolat. It seemed like the company was making a big deal about this one, so I was expecting it to maybe have a more innovative and out of the box weighting. It’s weighting is essentially identical to previous versions, so there’s not much novelty here. Babolat seems to want to stick to a formula that has been working well to sell frames the past few years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  30. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    you are going from a pro staff to aero pro??
     
  31. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    At least for a few days while I give it a test drive.
     
  32. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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  33. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    North London. Why? :)


    travlerjam.

    Nice review, cheers, and I find your final summation noteworthy.
     
  34. JDMasFCK

    JDMasFCK Semi-Pro

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    JDMasFCK's REVIEW

    Tennis Experience/Background: I am a solid 4.5-5.0 player

    Playing Style: I play with a lot of topspin from the baseline and usually grind out points from the baseline.

    Current Racquet/String: Head Prestige IG MP w/ leather grip and lead at 10 & 2 strung with Tourna BHB7 @ 45LBS

    Racquet Model Tested: Aeropro Drive Lite

    Hours Tested: Roughly 15 hours

    Racquet Performance (STOCK):

    Groundstrokes: Since I grind out most of my points at the baseline I use A LOT of top spin and I felt that this racquet did not have a lot of spin (it is very light). I had to use A LOT of my own strength and have to swing really fast to produce spin when I am hitting with a 5.0 player. The control was lacking also, some of the shots would go where I wanted but it would land in that general direction instead of being pin point accurate. The shots I were hitting were landing REALLY short. The feel of the racquet was improved over the previous model but it wasn't as soft as my current racquet setup (probably because of the high tension this racquet was strung at). I didn't notice any arm problems when using this racquet but some of the shots felt very harsh at times.

    Serves: Again my serves were REALLY weak and they landed really short with little to no pace. I had to use A LOT of my own strength to produce some power and pace on the ball but they were not fast at all when playing with a 5.0 player. The control of the serve was lacking also, I felt that I couldn't control my serves because the racquet was so light and that lack of weight didn't provide the plow through I was looking for to control my serve.

    Volleys: My volleys were decent, but I felt that every time the ball contacted the stringbed it would push the racquet and I felt that I wasn't in control. The lack of weight on this racquet made it hard for me to control my volleys. The feel was pretty decent when I was volleying but again there was no control and it was hard to put away volleys.

    Serve Returns: Serve returns has got to be one of the weakest points of this racquet. The lack of weight on this racquet made it VERY difficult to return a 5.0 player's serve. I was literally getting pushed around and my returns were landing near the service line which would bring my opponent up and finish the point. I had NO control when I was returning serve because of the lack of weight. I could swing fast to produce spin to counter the fast serve but the results varied with some shots landing near the no man's land and some near the service box.

    Overall Thoughts: I thought this racquet overall was REALLY light and the feel was pretty decent. The lack of weight really hindered on the performance of this racquet especially if you are planning on using this racquet against 5.0 players. The lack of weight made it hard to hit deep groundstrokes, serves and serve returns with heavy topspin. I let some of the girls on the tennis team at my local high school try out the racquet and their overall opinion of the racquet is that it has a lot of topspin and feel and it suited their game, they also liked how light the racquet was and some wanted to switch over to it when it's going to be released. The things they didn't like was that it wasn't stable and some of the shots felt erratic at times.







    Now onto the fun part of the playtest

    Racquet Performance (WITH LEAD)

    Overview of Lead Placement:
    [​IMG]
    -I put 4, 5 inches of 1/4 length strips of lead at 10 & 2

    [​IMG]
    -I put 4, 5 inches of 1/4 length strips of lead at 5 & 7

    [​IMG]
    -I put 4, 7 inches of 1/2 length strips on the handle at 12, 3, 6, 9
    -I put 4, 4 inches of 1/2 length strips on the handle at 2, 5, 7, 10

    Overall weight with Lead: 11 OZ

    Groundstrokes: WOW the difference between lead and no lead tape is HUGE. My groundstrokes were landing A LOT deeper and they had a lot SPIN. The control was there but was lacking a little. The feel was solid and still there was no arm/elbow problems when I was using it. The racquet also felt solid in my hands, it wasn't flimsy or hollow anymore

    Serves: My serves were landing deeper and had A LOT more pace and spin compared to when I didn't have lead tape on there. The control was there but again was lacking. The spin wasn't insane but it was enough to give my opponent some trouble

    Volleys: My volleys were pretty decent, it was solid and had a nice feeling at net. The control was there but some of the volleys were landing short whenever a ball was ripped at me.

    Serve Return The serve returns improved A LOT. I wasn't being pushed around a lot compared to when I didn't have lead. I felt that I could place my shots a little bit better.

    OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:When I was signing up for this playtest I was hoping I would receive the regular Aeropro Drive instead of the lite but instead I received the lite, had I received the regular Aero, I think the review would have been a little bit better because it suited my game better than this racquet but fret not here are my overall opinions of this racquet. Overall I feel that this racquet is EXCELLENT for developing players and/or young female players because this racquet is so light and it enables the young user to produce a good amount of spin and the feel of the racquet isn't stiff. BUT this racquet IS NOT suited for tournament/competitive players (obviously) without adding lead first. Without lead I was being pushed around and had little to no control and stability. With the lead added I felt that it fixed some of those problems but again I wouldn't take this racquet to play competitively at a 5.0 level even with lead because it was lacking in some areas. I felt that this racquet had improved feel over the previous version but the improvements were subtle and weren't drastic improvements. I really like the paintjob of this racquet compared to the previous 2009 model. With that being said I was pretty content with this playtest, although I was slightly disappointed that I didn't receive the regular Aeropro Drive. Ending on a good note here is a picture of the 2013 Aero next to the 2009 model belonging to one of the girl's on the team at my local high school

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  35. Francis27

    Francis27 Semi-Pro

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    Great review JD! i like how youve put the new and previous models side by side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  36. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    I finally got mine today. So, if I break a string during my playtest, can I restring it? Or should I just ship it back?
     
  37. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Received it today. I will start hitting tomorrow. Must say that this is a great looking paintjob!

    -SF
     
  38. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    First off, thanks to TW for hooking me up with the AeroPro Drive demo.

    Tennis experience/background: Started at age 7. Played USTA junior tennis, took time off, played college lacrosse, returned to tennis, now I play 6-12 hours per week.


    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Attacking baseliner.

    Current racquet/string: BLX Blade 98 - Luixilon4g/OGSM

    Racquet model tested: aero pro drive standard

    How many hours did you play with the racquet? : 3 so far

    I have used the APDC for 4 years now and I know it well. So when I took out the new demo for a ride, I instantly noticed that it swung a little lighter than prior, but not as light as the Pure Drive 2012 ( a good thing).

    The stick was strung with RPM Blast and racquettune claimed 48#s, but I can tell you that the racquet feels very boardy regardless. It is not a comfortable racquet by any means, but there were no vibrations like prior models. I swung very aggressively to try and test myself on hard mishits, and even if I missed the middle, it did not vibrate like a tuning fork as prior models did.

    That being said, this racquet is stiff. When I went back to my BLX blade to A/B compare, the Blade felt like a Prince EXO tour in softness, and I am not even kidding. Granted my blade has 4g mains and syn gut crosses instead of full poly, but it is at the same tension in a tighter pattern.

    I instantly noticed a higher trajectory and huge power with the bab. This is fantastic on balls I can set up for and crush. I could hit very big forehands with a high bounce, but this also hurt me if I did not get a full wallop on the ball. All that topspin I generated kicked straight up in the air off the bounce and gave better players an easier ball to attack even though it was loaded with spin. I played with a 5.0, and hit with 2 4.0s. The 5.0 crushed any ball like that for a winner, but the 4.0s let them drop safely and hit a rally ball back. If you are playing at the 4.0 level and hit with a lot of spin, you will be just fine. If you tend to naturally hit heavy spin with any racquet like me, then this may give your opponents some easy sitters.

    Clean winners were very satisfying (arent they all) and untouchable. You could really feel the large sweetspot and the woofer grommets opening up when you dimed it. When I got a groove going with my forehand, it felt great, but I was a little tentative while playing sets to go big. It is just such a powerful stick, and I am a pretty big swinger as it is. The power is great, but simply blocking the ball back can send it 4 feet long. Under match play pressure, my inclination with a powerful stick is to start pushing a little, and that takes me out of attack mode. The lack of any flex makes hitting touch shots an acquired taste, but log the hours and you can do it. Just dont expect it out of the box, because it isnt happening.

    At low levels, you can hit pretty decent balls with a small swing, and at the highest levels you will have drilled for hours and hours and will have the confidence to go big with this stick. For me, it seems I was much more confident to hit out with my blade. It is my main stick, but the power level was also a lot more controllable. That being said, the blade does not come through the air as fast as the Bab, but it hits a heavier, more penetrating ball (pick your poison). The bab lacks some weight behind the ball unless you are teeing off over and over like Rafa. In other words, I think this racquet in stock form is ideal for juniors and young players with a lot of energy on tap.

    Backhands were very good, but the Babo grip makes it a little harder for me to stay eastern on the backhand and not let my left hand slide SW. It's not the Wilson grip, so that is a negative to me. I really liked the slice a lot, and found tons of bite on the ball.

    Volleys were stellar. This is a racquet that is rather light, but just keep it moving forward into the ball and you will punch volleys with authority. I loved volleying with this racquet.

    Serves came up a little short. I played a guy with really great hands who forces you to hit flat serves to the lines. I struggled with this, and went back to my blade to solve that problem. The blade is a far better racquet for punching out serves, but The APD does do one serve real well - the slice. That rafa-esque slider is a wonderful serve to go for with this racquet, and if that is your style of serve, you will love it.

    Return of serve was decent. I like to return deuce serves down the line against a slower server, and I am spoiled by the Blades precision. The APD will let you block serves back, but make sure you put some spin on it or you will be rattling the fence. If you get all over a serve, you will be rewarded, but if you are late against a big server too many times, your beer will need to double as an after match ice pack.

    So yes, this is a great version of the APD. It is a super stiff tweener in the bab mold and the feel is crispy and boardy with a little bit of a gooey middle due to the woofer tech. The racquet sounds like a cannon when you crack forehands, but that is what this stick is - a forehand. Since that is my best stroke, I have always been drawn to it, but with it's ease of use there is a price to pay - my wrist and thumb is a little sore after, and this is the norm for me with these racquets. Also , the lack of control can cause you to play tentative in a match that requires placement and touch to win. I firmly believe that if you put in the time and are in great shape (this racquet demands great footwork more than you think), this is an amazing option. But it really is best for younger players unspoiled by things like "100% graphite", "flex" "twaron"..etc. Don't get me wrong, anyone can use this stick, but it really requires someone committed to massive topspin who won't let up for the duration of the match.

    I would strongly recommend this racquet to be played with full poly to control it, and my personal choice would be Gosen Polybreak. String it around 52#s and change it every 10 hours.

    Plan to log a little more time with the stick before sending it back, but these are my impressions, and I feel very familiar with this great lineage. Thanks again to TW for allowing me to try it out, and rest assured I dug up no slices during this playtest. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  39. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    ^^Dear Mr. Power player

    Did you think the Swingweight was more closer to 316 or 329 on the aeropro drive 2013 ? Just off the feel from hitting. I know you didn't measure the SW. I too can tell just by hitting for good 2 hours, roughly what the SW is. I haven't had the pleasure of testing the frame yet.
     
  40. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I'd say it felt around 320. My Blade is 331 and it took me about 5 strokes to get back used to it when switching back and forth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  41. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    I'm hitting with my demo later today for a couple hours. I'll post my initial results shortly after that.
     
  42. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

    Joined:
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    Unfinished

    Tennis experience/background: Been playing tennis for 6 years. I am a 4.0 - 4.5 player. Love hitting indoors.
    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): All court player. Love volleying. Using a Eastern Forehand. Continental One Handed Backhand. I hit mostly flat with my forehand.
    Current racquet/string: Head Youtek IG Prestige Pro With Babolat Revenge 17G @ 52lb
    Racquet model tested: Babolat AeroPro Drive LITE
    How many hours did you play with the racquet?: 7 hours ( as of right now, still in progress. ) ** DONE 7 Hours**
    Comments on racquet performance::

    -groundstrokes:
    1st play ( 2 hours ) Looking at the 2 videos i took trying to look at the ball spin difference, there wasn't much. Both racquets i had similar spin with the new APD having a tad bit more ( I was probably getting in with the groove of dat Nadal feeling ) but otherwise plow through wasn't great. The balls were going too deep though. I'm not sure if it was me or the racquet tension/stiffness.
    2nd play ( 3 hours ) : Ok, The past week have been quite rainy so i had to go to my club to play. The racquet has been sitting in my bag for quite a while so the RPM's were very dead. The feel of hitting the ball was just disappointing to me. The racquet felt amazingly stiff, the strings were terrible. Going back to the groundstroke topic, my groundstrokes were fine but the feel i had when previously playing, was completely different. Back when i first received the racquet, i took it out for a hit, the racquet played just fine.... but the weight was just off to me. I swung too fast at times ( Switching from a leaded up Prestige MP that was 12.7 oz., most lead at 12 o' clock. )
    3rd play ( 2 hours ) : After the racquet fell out of my hand while returning a serve with a forehand, the racquet slipped out and hit the floor. After hearing that thud, I then recognized that extremely hollow sound in the racquet. It sounds like its producing the same sound as a Wal-Mart racquet would make. Pushing this aside, as of right now, this would be the last racquet i would grab to use as my main racquet. I have the same feeling of ball depth as from Pt 1 of "groundstrokes".
    Comments about this section : The racquet is strung way too tight. IMO, i would like to try it out at 52lb with my same strings to compare with my primary racquet. Pt 1 felt like i was at my best.
    Pt 1 score : 7/10
    Pt 2 score : 5/10
    Pt 3 score : 4/10
    Average score : ~ 5.3/10

    -serves:
    Pt 1 ( 2 hours ) : Serves were terrible. Warm up partner just told me to switch back after having some funky on and off serves. Kick serves were fine but need more power, flat serves were slow, topspin serves failed too much to judge.
    Pt 2 ( 3 hours ). My serves has been getting better. Had good depth, spin, and occasional deep serves. The racquet was relatively different from all the frames i hit with.
    Pt 3 ( 2 hours ) : I'm not sure if its because its been a while since my last part, but my serves were just off. Warmed up with my Prestige, Did warm ups for about 20 minutes, 1st serves a couple minutes, 2nd serves a couple minutes. Later transitioned over to the APD and i shanked about 30% of my serves, hit to the net 50%, hit too deep 20%. I just give up! I just suck. Hitting lite ( see what i did there. ) serves were fine. But when i did some 1st serves, thats when the percentages above took in place. 2nd serves were good, as stated in part 2, " Had good depth, spin, and occasional deep serves. ". While playing a friendly match, constant double fault. We just decided to wing the game and rally.
    Comments about this section : I'm guessing its because i warmed up the wrong way, or it's too light. Gave it a disappointing score. Had problems with my directional control.
    Pt 1 score : 3/10
    Pt 2 score : 6/10
    Pt 3 score : 1/10
    Average score : ~3.3/10

    -volleys:
    Pt 1 ( 2 hours ) :Volleys felt great. Crisp and solid. The light weight was throwing me off at some cases while volleying but with the some lead ( Don't have any at the moment ), I think it would be easier for me.
    Pt 2 ( 3 hours ) : I think this was my favorite part of the playtest! Volleys were on point, but still had some loss of control over the ball.
    Pt 3 ( 2 hours ) : Volleys were fine. Got a bit ticked off about my serves so my mental game wasn't at its best. Just hit some balls too wide. Still had fun with my volleys.
    Comments about this section : Good. Not bad. Felt good.
    Pt 1 score : 9/10
    Pt 2 score : 8/10
    Pt 3 score : 5/10 ( Might be biased report )
    Average score : 7.3/10

    -serve returns:
    Pt 1 ( 2 hours ) : Seemed fine but trying to return a 90+ mph serve with this racquet, no thanks. Only way for me to get my return accurate and in was to slice the ball. My initial thought when i first returned my hitting partners first serve was to beef this racquet up with some sort of weight. Felt very flimsy. When hit with a normal forehand, it still felt crisp, but flimsy.
    Pt 2 ( 3 hours ) : Hitting kickserves were not so great for me. When returning a flat serve, theres an insane amount of recoil to my arm.
    BEEF DAT RACQUET UP BABOLAT.
    Pt 3 ( 2 hours ) : If you read before, the racquet flung out of my hands. Haven't put an OG on the racquet. After that, my partner just rallied with me. Before, it was a bit bothering to return serves with such a light racquet.
    Comments about this section : No thanks. Wouldn't buy it at all based on this factor. Would rather buy the regular APD.
    Pt 1 score : 3/10
    Pt 2 score : 1/10
    Pt 3 score : 1/10
    Average score : 1.3/10

    Overall score IMHO : 4.3/10. :O

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Too light. thats my main comment. TOO LIGHT. Maybe good for a junior player. But just not for me. Overall performance was so-so. Would like to lead it up, add some Poly/Gut hybrids.... But i just don't want to overspend on strings for myself. ( its for my customers that request me to order T-T ) Sorry for giving this racquet a pretty harsh review. Thanks for giving me the opportunity for playtesting the racquet! Appreciate it. Had a pretty interesting time with this racquet. I'm just pretty curious about how the regular APD turned out for the other playtesters. Seems like the racquet was aimed more towards the smaller/junior kids. I would recommend it to junior players. Active cortex seems to be doing something. Let my partner look around at it and he seems pretty sold on the idea of an "Active Cortex". Paintjob looks very nice. Nice flat color. New logo is a bit odd. Not sure why they would change that. Again, thank you TW.

    NOTE: I did not spend 2/3 hours testing each individual part. Those were just in the time frame i was playing with the racquet. I was just playing like i usually would and sharing my thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  43. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    Here's my initial review.

    Background: I played varsity in high school. Now I'm at the top of the ladder on my Universities travelling club team. I'm somewhere around a 4.0-4.5 and I'm primarily doubles player. Semi western forehand, eastern one handed backhand. I love to serve big and come into the net.


    Current racquet/string: Head Youtek IG Prestige Pro, Black Magic/OGSM 49/52

    Racquet model tested: Babolat AeroPro Drive GT

    How many hours did you play with the racquet?: 2 Hours

    Comments on racquet performance:

    Groundstrokes: The APDGT was somewhat jarring at first, although that mostly has to do with the fact that I'm used to a softer racket with a poly/syn gut set up. As I adjusted though, I found it to be powerful with plenty of spin potential. My groundstrokes seemed to have a change in the height of their bounce, as well as a slight change in pace, although I think that might have just been related to me having a good day hitting. I really enjoyed hitting from the baseline with this racket, although the difference in feel compared to my Prestige's was an odd adjustment.

    Volleys: I didn't like the feel, or lack thereof, but the APDGT was stiff enough that I could stick a putaway volley when necessary. If I were to seriously consider playing with this racket though, I would need to hybrid the poly with something softer, as full poly feels terrible in this.

    Serves: I liked the free power I seemed to get from the racket, and the spin potential I had on kicks and slices. Babolat frames are just great for serving.

    Returns: Similar to groudstrokes, if I had the chance to set everything up, it was nice, but if I was late, I got jarring feedback, that felt completely different than my HEAD.

    This is still an initial review, but I am impressed with it. With that said, I'm not sold on it yet.
     
  44. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    "If I were to seriously consider playing with this racket though, I would need to hybrid the poly with something softer, as full poly feels terrible in this."

    LTEC 5S (black) at 46 mains and LTec Premium Flex (black) at 50 in the crosses is a great setup in the 2010 Aeropro. Could feel good in the 2013 Aeropro.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  45. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    I don't care for L-Tec's over priced strings. If I were to hybrid in this, I would use a multi in the crosses, or Gut/Poly.
     
  46. PED

    PED Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,339
    Tennis experience/background: 10 plus years
    Describe your playing style: baseline oriented, solid 4.0
    Current racquet/string: Head Prestige S strung with Solinco TB 1.25mm at 43/42
    Racquet model tested: APD GT 2013
    How many hours did you play with the racquet? 4 so far

    I can sum the whole experience as like this: it's an APD. If you like the PD or APD you will likely love this one. Babolat have made several improvements but the dna leaves you in no doubt that it's a Bab.

    Improvements: 1. I did find that it feels much better on contact with the new cortex and handle: its much more solid overall and I would play it stock if I switched to it. In the past, I usually leaded mine up to roughly 342g.

    2. It swings lighter than the older versions and that's a plus IMO. However, it does feel less mobile than my Prestige S. The S weights 5g more and has the same balance: 33cm. My apd13 weighted 324g with a rubber band and tournagrip.

    Groundstrokes are just what you would expect: you can hit a nice heavy ball off both wings and I found that my 2hbh in particular improved with this stick: I could hit a nasty heavy deep bouncer with a touch of side spin cross court to set up a short reply.

    I did find that the ball trajectory is a bit higher than with my last two sticks: Prestige S and IG Radical Pro. For my game, I usually prefer to produce a driving lower trajectory ball to take time away from my opponent. However, if you love to pound it hard and deep, this is your stick.

    Volleys were solid, the new cortex system is solid on impact and gives a satisfying feedback; the 100” hoop makes it hard to miss. I tend to only come in to finish off points and the apd was great for that.

    Serves: Nice on serve, it does swing lighter than previous versions which helped with my placement in the box, easy to produce serves from the deuce side that consistently painted the outside corner.

    Return of Serve: one of my favorite shots: the APD shines on this side, especially on the BH side, you can take a full rip at the ball and produce a nice deep return that’s tricky for the server to handle.

    Overall, the feel is much improved over the older versions. For comparison, my Prestige S feels like a wand in my hand, it comes around lightening fast and I'm rarely late on shots; the APDGT 13 swings faster than before but the 100" hoop and big beam is not as agile.

    I’ve owned all the previous versions of this stick: Original, APDC and GT and this is the best version since the original: some things the original does better (overall it’s softer) but the GT 13 has better power and is superior on return of serve.

    Thanks TW
     
  47. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

    Joined:
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    Tennis experience/background: I've been playing tennis for over 20 years. I am a 4.0 all-court player.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): More all-court, former strictly serve-n-volleyer; I quest for the net whenever I can

    Current racquet/string: Wilson BLX Blade 98/ X-One Biphase 17 @ 48 lbs

    Racquet model tested: Babolat AeroPro Drive LITE

    How many hours did you play with the racquet? 3 hours of doubles play


    Comments on racquet performance:

    -groundstrokes: at 9.8 oz strung (TW's specs), the racquet is significantly lighter than my BLX Blade 98.
    This racquet was SO easy to swing, and it felt incredibly light. There was a definite lack of plow through, though early
    prep time for shots was easy and some power was there. I had to swing hard to get power and depth just on my forehand and
    I rarely hit beyond the baseline. If my timing was perfect, I could get decent power/depth, but more than not I hit a shorter
    ball. I have a 1HBH and I liked being able to get around the ball fast, but again, I had to work to get good power behind the shot.
    A definite challenge for those with TE, as this still will tire your arm out and it's stiff, which with having to swing harder
    to get power, puts more strain on the arm. Nothing remarkable about slice shots, though a few did land short and made it hard
    for the opponent to hit the ball back.

    -serves: serves were a challenge, though I had occasional power on a flat serve (the whole timing thing again, with added frustration
    at this point); spin serves just ok and the ball seemed to sit up in the wheelhouse for some players. I could get a funky, fall-away
    spin second serve that frustrated one power opponent who hits out on EVERY shot, but I would get too frustrated if I had to rely on
    that all the time, I would become more frustrated.

    -volleys: this is probaly the shining star of this racquet; I had a couple of tough low, hard-hit balls at my feet and I was able to
    hit a good volley back at my opponents. On shoulder-high volleys though, it was more of the same lack of put-away power. It was interesting
    that when I picked my Blade 98 again just to compare, I was more focused at the net and hit some fantastic put-away volleys. I wanted a
    comparison specifically on volleys, and the Blade (unsurprisingly) rocked, compared to the two racquets

    -serve returns: serve returns were just ok, but lacked pace, and the racquet got pushed around by hard/ fast serves. I liked that I could
    setup early, but the lack of plow was not good.


    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Too light for me and not enough plow through. If you are already using this type of racquet, or want to get a a racquet that would be good to customize, it's worth at demo. I look forward to trying the non-light version.

    Thank you, TW, very much for the opportunity to demo and provide feedback.
     
  48. downs_chris

    downs_chris Professional

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern VA
    hitting with Aeropro Drive 2013 for a 2nd time tonight in a match situation -- first impressions were very positive...
     
  49. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    I've hit with the Aero Pro for another 3 hours now. I'm not going to write another full review (I'll save that until my final comments) but I have something interesting to report.

    Now, bear in mind I'm used to playing with the Prestige Pro, and before that the MG Radical so two different rackets with feel; but the APD has absolutely no feel to it. I'm not sure how much of this is from the RPM blast, and how much of this is due to the stiffer Babolat, but I can't feel the ball on the strings.

    While I'm still able to hit the ball nicely, often getting good depth and spin, half of the time I can't tell whether or not my shot is going to fall in or not. I feel completely disconnected from the ball.

    Just something to report for now.
     
  50. PED

    PED Legend

    Joined:
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    Doubles, The feel is def less on the apd than with the prestige.

    I see to use the pro myself and have been using the prestige s. while the feel is less on the new apd, the power and spin I was getting made up for it in my book. Part of it might be the rpm string as you mentioned, solinoco tour bite gives better feedback IMO.

    Not sure if you are using a dampener but the feel really opens up on the apd when playing without one, you get a much better idea of what the ball is doing.
     

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