4.5 USTA Rated Player, was a decent junior an have played/coached quite a bit the past few years. I have not played nearly as much in the past year and a half. Lucky to get out other then for league matches.
I'm an all court player, but I serve and volley behind both my first and second serves. I'm a first strike player, I hit a big serve and attack returns. That's the A game, but I can grind with the best if I need to.
I don't actually have one. I'm transitioning from a 2012 PD that gave me tennis elbow. Have played the past two months with a 350 gram Ti Radical strung with poly and a Donnay Pro 1 16x19. Waiting to demo some of the new sticks for 2013 before I switch.
Racquet Model Tested: Aeropro Drive
Hours Tested: Around 5 hours
As a former Babolat user, I have used a APDC+ and 2012 PD+ for quite a while. I also have hit with the PD swirly, APDGT, and other Babolat offerings. Honestly, the new APD is a really nice racquet, but it seems to be too stiff for my liking. It seems to be very dead feeling around the upper hoop. After hitting with it for five hours, I have not had any elbow pain. I attribute that more to taking some time off since experiencing elbow pain in August. As far as play goes, here's the breakdown:
Fantastic, although it is a bit light. The spin serves are excellent and it really whips through the air. I never really could dial in the flat serve to the level that I like to hit. Coming from 330+ gram sticks to this 313 gram Babolat would explain the majority of the issues there. If I put about 15 grams in it, I think it would be excellent.
It's light and it can be pushed around a bit. For me, I was able to really be aggressive on second serves by turning up the racquet head speed. Blocking back heavy first serves isn't too awful, but let someone crush a serve and catch it outside the sweetspot. That wasn't comfortable at all.
Since I've taught so much tennis over the past five years, I've learned to hit at a decent level with a variety of grips. When I play a match, I'm generally a moderate SW guy on the forehand. I think this racquet really is built for a more extreme grip on the FH. I really liked migrating to a more western grip and watching the ball jump off the court. I had trouble flattening out the ball with a great deal of accuracy. I'm again used to a heavier stick with a lower flex so if it will take me a couple of times out to get this part of my game going. Accuracy was ok, I again have to adjust to the huge power of this racquet. Compared to say the Donnay, I couldn't hit my crosscourt forehand inside the service line with the Babolat with any consistancy.....yet. Backhands were a little bit of a problem. I normally hit a two hander in competitive match play. I hit a one hander with this APD. I don't know if the grip is a bit short, but my big hands would not fit comfortably on the racquet. I wrapped an overgrip up on the racquet and that helped considerably. I hit good backhands, but again it's tough to really reign in the power of the APD.
What a pleasant surprise! This APD volleyed very well. Combine the stiffness with the light weight and you have a really nice volleying stick. The problem again was with harder hit balls. If I volleyed a couple of hard struck passing shots, I could see where my elbow would act up. Touch shots were a little iffy, but I think stiffness plus full RPM pretty much sums up that there's just not much touch here.
It's a nice stick and I think a lot of APD users will like this racquet. It's a much better stick to me then the APDGT. However, I prefer the softer feel of the APDC then the much more solid feel out of the new APD. The real knock for me with the APDC was a hollow feel. This 2013 APD does not have that, but it really seems to stiff to me. I really feel that the 2012 PD is softer then this offering as well. Overall, it's a great offering from Babolat for those who really like the Babolat line up and feel. I would caution anyone who is not really into a stiffer feel on this one though. I guess that is where I find myself and why I continue to look elsewhere from Babolat. Thanks to TW for the opportunity, I'm going to hit a bit more with it and will post any additional thoughts!
I am going to win Wimbledon one day -- even if it is the over 40s doubles ..." Goran Ivanisevic