Babolat Pure Drive Roddick RT feeling very powerless and shaky

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by ayaz, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hello everyone,

    I have been playing with a Head YOUTEK IG Speed 18x20 for a while now. It has a #5 (4 5/8) size grip. It feels big although technically, it appears to be the correct size for my hand based on the measurements I have done (although, I may be wrong). I used to have a running painful tennis elbow condition, and I juggled among a couple of racquets in order to see whether one would make a difference. Finally, I settled down to IG Speed 18x20, which, while heavier than any of the previous racquets I tried, came along fine.

    Recently I asked a friend to bring a Babolat Pure Drive racquet for me and he brought a Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT (the newer, black/red/blue/white colour-combination one). The racquet came with a #3 (4 3/8) size grip. The ratings on the racquet head put the un-strung weight of the racquet down to approximately 315g, which is the same as that of the Head IG Speed. However, the PDR GT feels lighter for some reason. But what's really bothering me is that, contrary to what I have read about the racquet, the racquet offers very little power in contrast to the Head IG Speed. Even though I have the dampener on, hitting shots from anywhere other than the very centre of the racquet give a very crude, shaky, powerless feel to the racquet. I'm used to the solid feel of the Head IG Speed, and I was expecting no less from this. But I'm not sure what's going on here.

    At first I suspected the racquet may be a fake. However, after comparing all the signs found across the Internet regarding fake and original Babolat racquets in general and PDRs in particular[0], I couldn't find anything to say that it was fake at all. And that boggles my mind further.

    I've only been playing three days with it so far, so it may be that my arm hasn't settled down to the racquet. But something tells me that something isn't right here. Also, more importantly, after three days playing with the racquet, the tennis elbow is back. It could be due to the smaller grip size (for which, I have now put on overgrips to increase, but have yet to test it).

    I was hoping that the good folks from around here could take some time out to shed there thoughts on this and perhaps point me where I may be wrong.

    Thanks very much.

    Cheers,
    Ayaz
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,707
    You can get used to it.
    Small grip initially makes the racket feel head heavy, and you don't swing as fast as a result. Swing faster.
    Mishits tend to amplify with your small grip and slower swing. Swingfaster.
    Stiff frame tends to amplify twisting....hence you feel it in your weakest joint. Swing faster.
    Swing faster and don't mishit. Start by hitting strong hard self drop feeds, so you get some confidence, then really concentrate on your groundies and hit them solidly. It will come, but is it worth it?
    I use moderate flex rackets and 5/8th grips with overgrip. I find the same traits when I borrow a bud's 3/8 sized racket, no matter what it is. Just feels inconsistent and mishits are amplified.
     
    #2
  3. Dasol

    Dasol Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    I played with the PDR last summer, and it was one of the most powerful racquets that I have ever played with. Also, PDR did not feel light to me, and it even felt like head-heavy, although spec says it is a head-light racquet. If you feel PDR is powerless, hmm, I do not know anything more powerful than PDR...:)
     
    #3
  4. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,451
    Location:
    Michigan
    Babolat QC is pretty bad, so you probably got a really light one. What is it strung with? That could make a huge difference.
     
    #4
  5. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    You're playing with one of the stiffest racquets on the market and your elbow is starting to hurt. What's the mystery?
     
    #5
  6. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hi MikeHitsHard93,

    I have it strung with the Prince Tournament L15 strings at around 59lbs. While my HEAD is strung with Dunlop strings (the grey ones, but I'm sorry I don't really remember the name now, but they were twice the price of the Prince ones) and they give a better feel to the racquet and more power, I have often played with the Prince strings on my HEAD and not felt the way I do with the PDR:GT. Do you think that could be the problem?

    The other thing I could suspect is that it is somehow fake although I cannot so far prove it. I can match all the signs I've found so far, including:

    • Holes in the three grommets at the bottom of the head on the throat.
    • No crappy paintwork, and the Roddick signature is at the right place and is proper.
    • All the subscripted ™ align properly.
    • There's no hologram claiming authenticity.
    • Serial number sticker on one side of the throat, and a grip size sticker on the other.
    • Another serial number stick with the same serial number under the grip on the grip hold.
     
    #6
  7. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hi ollinger,

    Fair enough. Although to be honest, I didn't know until yesterday that the stiffness of a racquet could be a major cause of tennis elbow pain. I just attributed it perhaps to the smaller grip size. But, I don't understand why the racquet feels so powerless. In all the reviews I've read on TT and elsewhere, it is supposed to be a power racquet.
     
    #7
  8. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hi Dasol,

    From the reviews read so far, I've drawn a similar conclusion, which is why I'm so stumped and bothered. Perhaps, as LeeD suggested, I am not swinging faster and mis-hitting, which may be part of the reason why I feel the way I feel. But, for example, I play a 1HBH and often I feel that the racquet shakes and vibrates violently when I hit the BH. Also, the serves with it are really deplorable. I love being able to serve hard and fast with my HEAD, but with the PDR:GT, no matter what I do, I can't crank out any power to my serves. It feels so impotent, if I could say. The feedback I get when hitting a flat serve is just too bothersome. The only consolation is that due to the lighter feel of the racquet, the maneuverability in serves and shots for me has increased.
     
    #8
  9. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hi LeeD,

    Thanks for your feedback. So, faster swings. OK. I could try that. I'm also trying to discern whether this racquet is meant to feel this way and I'm feeling it more because I'm not yet used to it, and have been playing with a racquet that has felt more stable and more powerful.
     
    #9
  10. monomer

    monomer Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    242
    The PDR is super stiff and not at all solid feeling. As others have mentioned, it's probably one of the worst choices if you have arm issues. The 2012 models are greatly improved but still hollow feeling (I have a PD and PD+).

    You are used to the Speed which is much less stiff and just more solid feeling. I'm not surprised that you aren't liking the feeling of the PDR. I am surprised about the lack of power - that shouldn't be the case compared to the 18x20 Speed.

    I'm not saying this is the case, but I have had a used racquet or two that just didn't feel right. No visible cracks or issues but they had weird vibrations. Maybe yours has an issue that isn't visible?
     
    #10
  11. Dasol

    Dasol Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Ayaz,

    I do not agree with other comments that PDR 12 is hollow and light. PDR is definitely stiff, and it is also solid too. I think the best way to tame its power is to swing fast and it will give you good spin. PDR's sweetspot is pretty large, and if you hit it, it is so powerful. Maybe you need some adjustment time for PDR, but once you find the sweetspot zone, you will see that PDR is one of the most powerful racquets on the market now.
     
    #11
  12. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,451
    Location:
    Michigan
    I agree with this post.

    OP, try stringing it a little looser. That should bring down vibration, stiffness, and should increase power and spin. Like LeeD said, this racket is a power racket but it needs fast swing speeds still. It is more powerful than almost all rackets in its weight class because it has such a large sweet spot and is so stiff.
     
    #12
  13. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hi MikeHitsHard93,

    OK, so I can get it re-strung at about 55lbs, and use better strings. And I can try faster swings. I have already increased the size of the grip with two over-grips. I'll see whether that'll make a difference for me.

    Many thanks for all your replies, folks.
     
    #13
  14. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,451
    Location:
    Michigan
    Tell us how it goes!
     
    #14
  15. morandi

    morandi Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    I think it is more of a case of getting used to a different racquet. Grip shape, head shape, dynamics through the air, balance, etc... all affect your timing which is really ultimately the key in tennis. If your timing is off, no matter how powerful or solid of a racquet your shots are going to feel like junk. And maybe the Pure Drive just doesn't jive with your mechanics.
    When I try out a racquet, if it doesn't feel like home within the first 10min, I move on. Thats why I'm back on the Aeropro drives. I just synch up with that racquet.
     
    #15
  16. makinao

    makinao Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    282
    ayaz: I have the same experience, and perception of the PD as you. I got a pair of PD+'s 3 years ago. It felt light, hollow, powerless, and painful to the arm. The first day I played with it, it was like having a cold needle stuck up my arm with every hit, all my groundstrokes were short, and my volleys were like bunts. I tried every setup on that thing, tensions from 45 to 60, polys to synthetics strings, and various lead tape setups. I was in denial for a year, telling myself I liked it, but my arm, and my game were falling apart. I stayed with it exclusively for 2 years, which I would think is more than enough time to "get used to" a racquet. Finally sold it after those 2 frustrating years of arm pains. If increasing the grip size on your PDR GT doesn't change things by the new year, then get rid of it. It's not for you. Get something comfortable but potent, like your Speed, or maybe a vintage Radical, or a PS, or a POG, or maybe ......

    Having said that, one of the varsity kids in our university has a PD GT and has no problem with it. But I tried his and got the exact same feel as my PD+. To each his own.
     
    #16
  17. D-money

    D-money Rookie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    Northern CA
    I find that if a grip is too small rackets feel unstable. I can't imagine thinking the PDR is not powerful however I can't imagine much more power than that racket has.
     
    #17
  18. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2,124
    Location:
    Between the baseline and netcord.
    If it's still feeling unstable, have you considered putting a bit of lead tape at 3 and 9? Maybe it will give it some extra stability upon impact?
     
    #18
  19. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,021
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    If the racquet was purchased in the US, email me the serial number and we can track it dbecker@babolat.com
     
    #19
  20. teocem

    teocem New User

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Messages:
    68
    I have 2 of those, for me the plough was not enough and manuevrability was poor at the net. I gave up playing with them after 2 weeks. If you like the crisp feel of Babolat I suggest you to try Pure Drive (non-Roddick) by adding only 2-3 grams of total weight to 3 and 9 oclock. This will not make it much heavier but will make it more even balanced and that will get rid of the hollow feel that you do not like. Also the other alternative is my new stick Blade 98 2013 16x19 which is great withot customizing. Good luck.
     
    #20
  21. D-money

    D-money Rookie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    Northern CA
    I found the Roddick to provide a great balance of ball speed off of the string bed and plow through from weight, in stock form. You have it strung pretty high with an awful string. I would try it with almost anything else at a lower tension and that might help right out of the gate. Something like Babolat E.N vy or even wilson stamina would be better than solid nylon in a 15g. The grip size being too small has always led to a lack of torsional stability in rackets for me regardless of their weight or stiffness. Miss hitting all the time will definitely lead to some arm pain if it isn't from the stiffness as well. If the Roddick still lacks power with a good string on it I would recommend an AR 15 or equivalent assault rifle.
     
    #21
  22. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hey makinao,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the PDs.

    Taking several suggestions from this thread, I tried a number of things with the PDR. I changed strings to Dunlop Explosive at 55lbs. That made a slight difference, but it felt mostly the same as before. Then I went down to around 48/49lbs. The power of the racquet increased. But again, after playing with it, my arm really aches. In fact, it starts aching while playing. Increasing the grip size makes a slight difference but the arm continues to ache.

    I understand now that the hollow feel is mostly due to the mis-hits, and that the racquet generates quite a bit of power when making contact with the ball with the sweet spot. Faster swings help too. But the end result is that, I end up with a throbbing arm that causes my game to fall apart, including my serves.

    I am not sure what else to try really. I've half a mind to just go back to playing with my Speed MP 18/20.
     
    #22
  23. ayaz

    ayaz New User

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Hey cluckcluck,

    Thanks for your suggestion. I've been thinking about it. I've been looking for the lead tape. The sports shop I deal with regularly didn't have it. I may have to look around for it. But, with the lower tension, I can feel the racquet to be much more stable than before. However, I cannot do away with the arm ache it is causing me.
     
    #23

Share This Page