Who was the true pioneer of Babolat rackets? - Moya?

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by Gabs011, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Gabs011

    Gabs011 Guest

    Most people when they think of Babolat think of either Andy Roddick or Rafa Nadal.

    But I remember the first person that ever got me interested in their sticks was Carlos Moya. Prior to him I had never seen anyone use a Babolat.

    I personally think Babolat have a lot to thank him for. He was Nadal's idol when he was growing up and is one of the main reasons Nadal uses Babolat today.

    Anyone else agree that he was/is the true Babolat pioneer? Or was there someone even before him?
     
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  2. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    Lots of people think it was Moya. he never used the PureDrive however..his was the soft drive and no woofers

    I think the guy who singlehandedly was responsible for the pros switching to the Pure Drive was Alex Corretja. here's a guy with no weapons and when he swtiched all of a sudden he grew a forehand and a much better serve...pros obviously notice stuff like that. I think his move to the PureDrive is similar to the impact that Guga had when he was one of the earliest to switch to Lux strings
     
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  3. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I think it was indeed Corretja, who was the true pioneer, although Moya got the brand a lot of publicity.
     
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  4. Pleepers

    Pleepers Professional

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    You guys can't be serious.
     
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  5. HyperHorse

    HyperHorse Banned

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    Corretja didn't use the Pure Drive. It was a Pure Control Xylon 360 or something... Not entirely sure of the model it was, but it def wasn't no stinkin PD....
    Perhaps someone else can clarify?
     
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  6. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    iirc, Corretja switched from Wilson to Babolat after Moya switched to Babolat from Prince.
     
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  7. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I think the pioneer of Babolat racquets is Moya. In 1997 Moya got to the Australian Open Finals with a Babolat. In 1998 Moya won the French Open with his Babolat beating Corretja (who was using Wilson at that time). Also in 1998 Moya achieved the number one ranking for a week or two with a Babolat.
    In the 1998 French Open Finals Corretja was using Wilson.
    [​IMG]
    http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/S...image&ep=2&p=alex corretja 1998&src=standard#


    Corretja did not start to use the Babolat Pure Drive until 2000.
     
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  8. Pleepers

    Pleepers Professional

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    Exactly!

    I can't believe some of the crap people wrote above. While I agree Moya was probably the main contributor to early Babolat success, I also know Lapentti had a strong influence in Latin America in the late 90's.
     
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  9. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'm sure someone used a Babolat before Moya, but he was the first really visible player to use it. And, he won a Slam with it. Add to that the fact that he didn't just use any random Babolat, he used the paint job of a Pure Drive, which would become an iconic racquet.
     
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  10. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Babolat only started to sell racquets in 1994. Before that Babolat was strictly a string, Grip, and accessories company.
     
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  11. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Ya gotta factor in Kim Clijsters in on the womens' side.....
     
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  12. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    True. But, I'm assuming that someone (even if it was someone ranked 500) used a Babolat at the time they started making racquets. Probably some lower ranked player from France. But, Moya turned pro in 1995, so he really could have been the first overall, not just the first visible player.
     
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  13. jura

    jura Professional

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    As the former product manager of Babolat told me, they started to plan selling rackets in 1994, more in 1995. They searched for a young upcoming player to take under contract. Moya was the perfect choice also because he had no contract at this time using a Prince Synergy Lite which even was a "second choice solution" due to he couldn't get his former rackets anymore.
    I heard some rumors that he used Estusa in his younger years. The funny thing is, that the first time when I saw a racket from the later Pure Drive mold (that was in 1992) it had "ESTUSA" written on the bumper!!!
    Anyway, in October 1995 Babolat gave Moya some black frames for testing. One of it was extremely light and with a very high balance. He was amazed and within a few hours he decided to switch. I remember that one week in Stuttgart he still used the Prince racket, the next week in Paris-Bercy he played the Babolat black frame (still with the Kirschbaum cherry logo), beating Boris Becker in the first round.
    From the mold of the black frame abolat created the first Pure Drive AND the first Soft Drive - these were the same molds. So it's senseless to quarrel if Moya uses/d Pure or Soft Drive. I would say it's more a Pure Drive because when we checked the RA of his racket in 2005 it had 70 - I can't imagine the Soft Drive had 70 RA. And he still uses his old racket without Woofer and with the old string pattern and bumper.
    (BTW: From the mold of the first Pure Control the created this year the Pure Storm Ltd.)
    So altogether there is no other conclusion that Moya was the first "leading man" for Babolat - and he was a real "lucky punch".
     
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  14. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Soft Drive - say what??!!

    . What precisely are the differences between the Pure Drive and the Soft Drive?

    . Anyone know a bit of Soft Drive history?

    . Do pros/have pros actually played/play with the Soft Drive versions?
     
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  15. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    From what I remember the Soft Drive was pretty similar with Pure Drive but the Soft Drive had more light-green color where the pure drive was more skyblue and the SOft Drive had a little bit different shape in the rackethead.

    The soft drive had some fibreglass in the construction.

    One pro that used the Soft Drive was spaniard Francisco Roig. (Roig was a decent doubles player and I see no reason they would give him a soft drive for marketing reasons..) I saw him in Båstad 1999. The reason I remember it so well is that my favouriteplayer Alberto Berasategui played there and I watched one of their practices when Alberto tried Roig´s racket. After a while Alberto got some wicked topspin with that racket but the first strokes was in the fence.

    Berasategui actually used either the Pure Drive or Soft Drive during a short while in his career. I think it was at the end of it.

    I remember so well the first time i saw a Pure Drive. It was spring 1996 at a fair in my hometown and i was invited by a sportshop. It was a fair only for the spoorting-goods industry and Babolat had their own stand. A guy with glasses and brown hair from Babolat France showed me the new Pure Drive and i was amazed. I bought one in january 97 and have used the Pure Drive or other Babolat rackets since then with some short exceptions.
     
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  16. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Definetly Moya. He was the first guy I saw play with a Babolat and pretty much defined Pure Drive.

    I disagree that Corretja only developed 'weapons' after switching to the Pure Drive. Corretja was playing with a Wilson stick when he played his epic match against Pete Sampras at the US Open. If anyone needs any help remembering which match, it was the one in which Sampras threw up on court and aced Corretja on a key second serve. I remember watching that match. I was a Corretja fan from way back and he had a pretty big forehand even then.

    While Moya introduced the brand to the masses, Roddick was, IMO, singlehandedly responsible for the rise of popularity of the Pure Drive amongst juniors. After he started his pro career playing with one, every kid on the block wanted one. Babolat has scored another coup signing and retaining Nads. That yellow frame he plays with is big around here as well. On the ladies' side, I agree that Kim Clijsters was a very good sign for them as well.

    The number of pros and and frequency with which Babolat appears in the later rounds of tournaments certainly has helped them with market share. They appear to be one of the more popular (and expensive) brands of frames. IMO, having a stable of pros really helps market share in frames.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
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  17. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    While Moya may have been remembered more by casual observors, Corettja I believe made more impact and caused fellow pros to change to the PD because his game dramatically changed when he switched to the PD. I remember the Sampras throw up match..sampras threw up because Corretja frustrated him with his lack of pace with his Wilson extended frames (whatever they were). as i said, Moya didnt even use the Pure DRive and never has. He was more popular with the fans, but Corretja actually using the Pure Drive I believe made more impact with the fellow pros, and we all know that people want to buy whatever they think the pros use (think the so called fed frame)
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
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  18. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    very interesting, thanks, as always.
     
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  19. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    your logic says that whoever used something first must have made the most impact...that often isnt true. Moya didnt even use the PureDrive, and early on really wanst widely known beyond Europe. I think Corretja is responsible for more PROs making the switch and Roddick is more responsible for booming sales of the PD especially in Babs biggest market for this stuff (the US)
     
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  20. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I would just like to point out that 1998 was Corretja best year and that he was playing with Wilson then. Aside from his 1998 French Open Final loss Corretja went on to beat Sapmras and Moya to win the 1998 ATP Tour World Championships.
    At the 1998 ATP Tour World Championships (now known as the Tennis Masters Cup). In the semi-finals, he saved three match points on the way to beating Sampras 4–6, 6–3, 7–6. In the final, Corretja faced Moya in a five-set marathon and came back from two sets down to win in 4 hours and 1 minute 3–6, 3–6, 7–5, 6–3, 7–5. Corretja won a career-high five singles titles in 1998 and finished the year ranked World No. 3. In February 1999, Corretja reached his career-high ranking of World No. 2.
    Those are some fine results with Wilson.
     
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  21. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I think Moya was the pioneer of a Babolat racquets. The OP asked who was the pioneer of Babolat racquets.
    Moya was the first to get to a Grand Slam Final, first to win a Grand Slam, and first to be ranked number one in the world with a Babolat racquet. Also Moya was the first guy I saw playing with a Babolat racquet. To me those are pioneering efforts. I can think of no one before Moya I saw playing with Babolat racquets.

    Correjta in 2000 jumped on the Babolat bandwagon after having his best years playing with Wilson racquets.

    I hope now you can understand my logic.
     
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  22. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Funny, I remember Sampras' illness being qualified as some sort of genetic problem. There was never a mention of Sampras falling vicitm to a lack of pace. A player who frustrated Sampras with speed and retrieval was Michael Chang who Sampras roundly defeated in the finals that year 6-1, 6-4, 7-6. For Corretja to go 5 sets with Sampras would indicate that he then had more on the ball than Chang as he certainly never had the footspeed of a Michael Chang.

    Interesting that you completely disqualify Moya's use of a frame painted to resemble (if it wasn't) a Pure Drive as not having any impact on Pure Drive sales and then give Federer credit with selling a frame that you claim he doesn't use.

    As to your other point, how can anyone be certain that any other pro uses? According to you, neither Moya or Federer use the racket they claim to, how can anyone then guarantee that Corretja used a stock PD? I certainly have seen no proof. I suspect he does, but surely the rest of the ATP didn't look to Alex Corretja for their gear?

    Yeah, I guess to the casual observer it would appear that Corretja's game improved when he swtiched to the Pure Drive.
     
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  23. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    yes exactly.i was talking about something else.
     
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  24. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    As usual, great point and one I fully agree with.

    Yep, and I can remember some of my friends actually ordering Babolat Pure Drives from a place in England. I even e-mailed to get the scoop on them. I remember because they said outside of England I wouldn't have to pay the VAT.

    We can also probably conclude by his association that Moya got more pros to change to Babolat than any other. The Spaniard ranked just below Moya at the time he was successful was.....Corretja. Moya also heavily influenced his fellow islander, Nadal who is the star of the stable for Babolat. I would submit that Carlos Moya probably got more pros on board with Babolat than anyone else.
     
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  25. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks Hank. Very informative. I wonder if you or others have actually played with a Soft Drive? I'd still be interested to hear how it compares to a PD... BTW, Anyone got a picture of one?
     
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  26. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    That's right, the first Pure drives i saw was in 1996-97, before they were still quite unknown in the racket business and had to earn their place. I also agree that Moya is the true pioneer of the pure drive or the Babolat racket in general.
    In 1996 at Paris Bercy Moya used the Soft Drive PJ.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
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  27. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I wasnt disputing that Moya used a PureDrive paintjob earlier. I was speaking in terms of impact on the game and racquet sales, which is what i clearly posted
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
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  28. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Moya and...

    LAPENTTI!

    Lapentti was top 10 several years ago and was using a PD at the time. He definitely deserves to be mentioned but Moya has always been the main Babolat guy, until Roddick.

    Also, guys like Chela, Ginepri and Gonzalez have been using the Pure Control for centuries now.
     
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  29. Pleepers

    Pleepers Professional

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    Wow…just: Wow!

    I completely agree!

     
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  30. InPraiseofAthleticBeauty

    InPraiseofAthleticBeauty New User

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  31. jura

    jura Professional

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    You hardly could have seen a Babolat racket before 1997 because they started making rackets in this year.
     
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  32. jura

    jura Professional

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    Sorry, but I disagree: At first Corretja switched to the PD+ after he tried Roddicks racket. Roddick was already a "raising star" and after a test Corretja decided to switch. So he was caused by an other pro!
    Also Corretjas game didn't really changed after this switch. He really made a great leap forwards after switching from his Donnay Pro One Mid to Wilson. I saw Corretja beating Becker in 1994 at Hamburg - I can't remember him playing only one topspin backhand. He only sliced every ball like Aguilera did some years before. With the Wilson racket with only 16 mains he started to use more and more topspin backhands.
     
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  33. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Andy Roddick.
     
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  34. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    you may of course disagree, but lots of people including some announcers who were former players recognized that Corretja grew a forehand and a serve after making the switch..and this was a guy approaching the twilight of his career...surely his fellow pros noticed..we're not talking about the same thing.
     
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  35. martin

    martin Banned

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    I would like to know who these players are. Fact is that his results only got worse.
     
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  36. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, I think it has already been stated that Corretja's best results/rankings were when he was with Wilson. I saw him at IW in 2000 and his game wasn't any bigger with the Pure Drive.
     
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  37. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    It's very obvious I didnt say his results got better...i said his forehand and serve got bigger..

    i guess you people dont agree that switching to a PD aka Rocket Launcher would cause someone to hit the ball w. more power
     
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  38. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Well it's awhile ago so it could be a year later but i was one of the first in my country to test one i think, my local sportshop has some great connections with Babolat, i still have a first generation pure drive at home.
     
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  39. ____

    ____ Rookie

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    As far as I can remember,the first player I saw using Babolat stick was not Moya.It's Sebastian Laureau,a Canadian double player.I wasn't sure that's a Pure Drive or a Pure control he used then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
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  40. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    He played the Pure Control, it was in my understanding Moya was before him, when Moya switched to the pure drive in 1996 Lareau was still swinging his older Head...
     
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  41. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Then it makes even less sense. Why would pros change to a racket that worsened a competitor's results?
     
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  42. jura

    jura Professional

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    As said it was a Pure Control. And Moya was the first: As I already posted he used a Babolat black frame in official matches at the end of 1996 - some months before Babolat started to sell rackets.
     
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  43. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    He actually used a pure drive with paint in end of october 1996 at Paris Bercy..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  44. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    Chang switched to the longer racquet only to see his game go in the toilet. Lubby changed racquets and his game dumped..etc

    bye now..i'm out of this thread. not possible to converse w. people who dont think that changing to a rocket launcher like the PD wouldnt cause them to hit w. more power
     
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  45. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I still say Andy Roddick.
     
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  46. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Nobody's disagreeing that changing to a 'rocket launcher' won't increase a player's power.

    However, you asserted that Corretja's change to the Pure Drive influenced other pros. Corretja's change also coincided with a drop in his results. This is an illogical conclusion. Unless of course the other pros wanted their games and rankings to drop.

    More than serveral posters on this thread have asserted, and correctly so, that Carlos Moya was the foremost pioneer of Babolat. If he wasn't the first signee, he certainly was the biggest.

    As to any pro's influence, Corretja or Moya, I think this is totally irrevelelant. Pros are more influenced by $'s than anything else. There are a few exceptions, but racket companies can tailor a racket to a pro and can copy a frame. IMO, the biggest boon to Babolat was Moya's influence with Rafael Nadal. Their like sponsorshps from shoes to clothes to rackets is too coincidental.
     
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  47. Robbo

    Robbo New User

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    Yes, indeed you do. Did she actually use anything else during her pro-career? :/.

    Lapentti definately deserves a mention. I remember watching the Lapentti Nalbandian Q/Final match at Wimbledon back in 2002, that match was phenomenal. Something like 6/4 in all 5 sets. But anyway, a little off topic for me, sorry.
     
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  48. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    Indeed Sebastian Lareau was one of the early Pure Control players along with Kenneth Carlsson and Richie Reneberg. The original Pure Control was an 18x20, 19 mm-flat beamed framed that was supposedly lifted off the Donnay Pro One Mid mold and was to compete with the Head Pro Tour.
     
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  49. Richard Parnell

    Richard Parnell Rookie

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    Hi dedans, if you go back to '94 you will find that the first pure control was 16 mains. It was then changed to 18.Both were the same as the Donnay Pro one but the 16 mains moved the ball a lot more easily than the 18 mains version. I played with both , 16 mains was much easier to use.
    Babolat brought out racquets in France in 94 and then in Spain in 95. The reason Moya switched to Babolat (the main reason) was that Babolat was quicker than Yonex to prepare him a frame with his specs. I strung for him in´95 and he was still using Prince and playing quallies (Valencia ´95). The frames sold well in Spain straight away but it was the final in Australia that really made people sit up and look at Babolat in another light. Here in Europe it was Moya that put Babolat on the frame map. For you Yanks it was Roddick, I suppose. It was actually the Soft Drive that sold most at the beginning. It was cheap, gave loads of spin and was easy to use. Loads of juniors started using it but had problems when they loaded it up with lead as it was never concieved as a players frame (the frame could snap because of the higher torsion it sustained with the higher weight)
    All the best,
    Richard
     
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  50. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    That's correct, you can see clearly the typical oval headshape of the Donnay pro one mold in the first generation PC's. The later ones used another mold.
     
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