Age 48, Played Div II NCAA, currently a 5.0+
Describe your playing style:
Aggressive Baseliner, but am playing more doubles than singles these days.
Had a 26 year relationship with the POG. I found that about 4 years ago it became a little harder to swing, but have struggled to find a racquet I like as much as the POG. I have been playing past couple of years with the Pure Storm Tour GT. Of course I have tried these Babolats before and have never really gotten along with the Pure Drives, Aeros, and such because of the lack of feel (for me).
I was eager to hit with this based on the favorable comments and new active cortex.
Racquet model tested:
AeroPro Drive GT Lite 2013
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 2.5 hours
Comments on racquet performance:
First off, a coment on the cosmetics. It looks very nice to me. Nice improvement.
First I must say that, being used to heavier/player type frames, this racquet was light for me...and while I am grateful for the oppty to participate in the play test I would have preferred the regular version. But it was an enjoyable test and I felt like the racquet shined in several areas...primarily overall comfort and spin. These racquets are known, for better or worse, for their stiffness...I did not find this to feel as stiff as previous versions. Perhaps it was the new dampening system at work?
The racquet delievered in every category that the frame was known for. I was almost immediately comfortable from the baseline with this. Spin was generous. I found hitting a variety of shots to come easily. The light weight of the racquet made my balls fall a little short, but with some height adjustments I compensated. I felt like the Active Cortex was a monumental difference between this version and the previous versions in regard to feel. I can't describe it perfectly, but i thought the feel was much improved and was something I could live with (i think thats a compliment)....I think it also seemed to soften the stiffness of the frame nicely.
I found it was comfortable from the service line and it was easy to hit everything: It was almost like a trick racquet, the light weight made it pretty nimble and I could generate just about any spin and serve location seemed super easy. The weight of serves wasnt what I would call heavy (again, this is a lighter racquet than I play with) but it was point and shoot type serving with good spin, location and variety was easy.
Probably the best area for me. Stability was good for this class of racquet. Maneuverable, with good placement. I found it to volley pretty well.
This was probably where I felt the lightness of the frame was a hinderance for me. I like more mass in the racquet for the game I play. But candidly, the racquet again was awfully comfy, even with shots hit outside the sweetspot...and again I felt like the advantages of a lighter frame were obvious here...it was nimble and I felt like I had lots of options on the return.
General reaction/comments on overall performance:
Overall I find the 2013 frame to be good looking and performance was, on balance, impressive. It did deliver on the advertised improvements...most notably better feel and comfort. The test was favorable enough for me to consider a demo of the standard Aero and Aero+.