Tennis Warehouse Playtest: Babolat Pure Drive 2021

TW Staff

Administrator
We have sent out an email to those selected to participate in the Babolat Pure Drive and received confirmation. For those that have received the email, congrats and we received all your confirmation emails!

For those that were not selected, thank you so much for applying. The Babolat Pure Drive playtest was one of our most popular playtests we have had in awhile. It was awesome seeing so many people interested in playtesting. Unfortunately, we only had a small quantity to give out. However, we are continuing to offer as many playtests to you guys as possible. We always like to leave these tips here:

Apply for string playtests first and leave detailed, thorough reviews. We generally have a larger amount of strings to send out for playtests and your chances are much higher of being selected. Additionally, it helps if you have a good history on the message board and are participating in a positive way especially in the shoe, string and racquet sections (bonus points if it is in threads related to the specific playtest).

Lastly, we like to make sure to spread the wealth. We try to give members a chance who were not selected to be on one of the last couple major playtests (racquet/shoe). If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at discussadmin@tennis-warehouse.com and we would be happy to help.

Thanks,
TW Staff
 

Adam233789

New User
Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try your suggestions! I look forward to contributing my experiences with the TW Community!
 

WhiteStripes

Semi-Pro
TW is awesome and shipped this out quick - received the racquet earlier today. Great looking paint job. Strung up with the same setup as my usual Pure Aero (Hyper G / 53 lbs). Haven't hit with it yet, but it feels/swings noticeably lighter than my Aero. Not too surprising since my Aero came in a little over spec. Hopefully will get a chance to hit with the stick soon.
 

agab

New User
We have sent out an email to those selected to participate in the Babolat Pure Drive and received confirmation. For those that have received the email, congrats and we received all your confirmation emails!

For those that were not selected, thank you so much for applying. The Babolat Pure Drive playtest was one of our most popular playtests we have had in awhile. It was awesome seeing so many people interested in playtesting. Unfortunately, we only had a small quantity to give out. However, we are continuing to offer as many playtests to you guys as possible. We always like to leave these tips here:

Apply for string playtests first and leave detailed, thorough reviews. We generally have a larger amount of strings to send out for playtests and your chances are much higher of being selected. Additionally, it helps if you have a good history on the message board and are participating in a positive way especially in the shoe, string and racquet sections (bonus points if it is in threads related to the specific playtest).

Lastly, we like to make sure to spread the wealth. We try to give members a chance who were not selected to be on one of the last couple major playtests (racquet/shoe). If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at discussadmin@tennis-warehouse.com and we would be happy to help.

Thanks,
TW Staff
Thanks TW. I will definitely try those tips next time. You guys are just awesome with everything you do.
 

JonnyAbs

Semi-Pro
Thats odd, most people comment about how loud the new PD is. I guess ill see for myself soon.
After I wrote that, I wondered if I was wrong. Definitely not a ting, more like a thump; a strongly dampened feel that I noticed immediately. When I buy one ill have to readdress.
 

A_Instead

Hall of Fame
To those who say the new PD is loud....
Can you elaborate on the word loud?..
It sounds like "x"?.... Etc..
Thanks
A
 

JonnyAbs

Semi-Pro
Loud pttkkhhh sort. The feel is more muted or dampened as some say than the 2015 version or prior, sure, but that doesn't mean there is no sound on ball contact.. for me atleast.
The 'no sound' statement I made was hyperbole. That was not intended to be the emphasis. The racquet is just very muted IMO.
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
I've never been a big fan of the PD due to the stiffness and especially hated the previously generation, but man oh man, I'm having so much fun with the new PD. It's my current guilty pleasure. Despite the 71 RA, it plays comfortable due to being more muted and less vibration feedback on the arm. Cool PJ too.
 

fundrazer

Legend
I've never been a big fan of the PD due to the stiffness and especially hated the previously generation, but man oh man, I'm having so much fun with the new PD. It's my current guilty pleasure. Despite the 71 RA, it plays comfortable due to being more muted and less vibration feedback on the arm. Cool PJ too.
That's good to know. Wonder if they incorporated any tech from the 3rd gen pure strikes. The 100 I played with last time was surprisingly comfortable.

Also, somebody asked about stringing recommendations earlier. I'm thinking of going with the rpm/excel hybrid myself. Probably low 50s or high 40s, but not decided yet. Normally I'm playing gut/poly in my 97HD at ~50lbs, but was thinking poly mains for playtesting the new Pure Drive. Stick should arrive Thursday and will likely drop it off for stringing that night when I go to play.
 
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Chezbeeno

Professional
Just got mine this morning - it's off to the stringer so I can hit with it asap. My first impressions of the pj are mostly positive - I've always been a fan of blue on frames, and the combo of shades is nice. I love the paint itself - I've always preferred matte paint, and I much prefer this matte to the dumb rubberized velvet stuff that Wilson is always using these days. The giant "drive" text on the throat is a little goofy, though.
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
Got mine in today, she's a little hefty. 307 unstrung is right on the upper tolerance and it definitely swings heavier than I expected. Not nearly as polarized as my APDs, feels like the weight is much more spread out throughout the hoop. EDIT: looks like the balance comes in at about 320mm. My APDs are closer to 330 with the lead. It seems like these are supposed to sit around 330 too, but I'm sure my overgrip threw it off some.
Really a fan of the paintjob and the specific type of matte it is too, even though the text is a little goofy - kind of reminds me of the aesthetic style one would use if making a music video set in the 70s, in the 2010s.

Strung it up with isospeed baseline 17 at 45/43 (my go-to on the APDs) and went out for some doubles tonight. Had a blast, I was just crushing returns and honestly it had way more control at the net than it has a right to with how much pop it adds. Launch angle was down from my APDs and my loopy forehands had a different shape to them that I'm not sure I liked. I have a flatter backhand though, and those were simply stupid - just absolute missiles.

I had to go for bigger targets than usual on groundies, but I always do when I try a different racquet so that's not really a condemnation of the PD unless that trait sticks around. Super weird feeling when I hit the ball - It's clearly a very stiff racquet, but if you hit it in the sweet spot you don't really notice. Hit it in the upper hoop though, and you're probably gonna tell. Get to the lower hoop and it just feels like you have a rubber band dampener around every other pair of strings, and you're hitting off of that. Very muted boing-y feeling, but also hilariously comfortable. If you have tennis elbow, you can just stop worrying about trying out all these different volkls and prokennexes paying for gut string etc. Simply buy a 2021 pure drive, string it with poly and cut the top half of the frame off.

Agree with the other poster saying groundies were quiet. It had me thinking I was putting up weenie balls, but on the changeovers the other guys were commenting that my balls were getting to them a lot quicker than they were used to - They were definitely coughing up more UEs than I expected too. Not sure if that's just from my strokes being flattened out or what, though.

Really excited to get some more time with this thing. Just based on tonight, I think I could switch to this and not feel like my game was handicapped in the same way I felt it was with the 2020PAVS. Maybe I'll rethink that tomorrow when I get it out for some singles, but man doubles was fun.
 
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JonnyAbs

Semi-Pro
Agree with the other poster saying groundies were quiet. It had me thinking I was putting up weenie balls, but on the changeovers the other guys were commenting that my balls were getting to them a lot quicker than they were used to - They were definitely coughing up more UEs than I expected too. Not sure if that's just from my strokes being flattened out or what, though.
Thank you for confirming. People had me questioning myself because they were in agreement that I was wrong.
 
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DJ-

Hall of Fame
Do people generally agree it's down on spin from the last model?

If the string patterns are the same, what would cause this? Less polarized weight distribution, or did they do something wacky with the grommets?
I think one reviewer asked the same question with a wider pattern how is spin down... When they tested it they said this version gave up some free power but added more feel and control. and you had to swing slightly more harder/faster to achieve that free power spin on certain strokes. It may have been team tennis fr. or tennis taste ....
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
I think one reviewer asked the same question with a wider pattern how is spin down... When they tested it they said this version gave up some free power but added more feel and control. and you had to swing slightly more harder/faster to achieve that free power spin on certain strokes. It may have been team tennis fr. or tennis taste ....
That's surprising. I find the latest update to have more power than the previous generation. Power is super easy to generate. The racquet practically does half the work for you. My ball was zipping thru the court with half-ass stroke. I strung mine with a super low-powered poly (Tour Sniper) at 62 lbs. And yes, the racquet is still shockingly comfortable at that tension.
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
Thank you for confirming. People had me questioning myself because they were in agreement that I was wrong.
So I was talking with @haqq777 and he made me realize I wasn't representing this totally accurately - I'm a lefty and I was playing ad side last night so I just didn't hit many backhands, and when I was thinking about the noise I was mostly referring to big loopy forehands. When I hit flatter backhands or blocked back hard serves it sounded cool. It probably would have on flat serves too if I'd hit any, but last night I just spammed lefty spin. Very quiet on big angled cuts at the ball though, and muted enough I could see some people describing the ball contact as "vague" on these strokes. This was another factor in me feeling like I wasn't getting a ton of pace on the ball, the impact was just a lot less than I was used to on these strokes - If I had gotten that kind of feedback from my APDs, I would be expecting the ball to not make it over the net. Instead, they were going deep and dropping. Just an adjustment thing.
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
So I was talking with @haqq777 and he made me realize I wasn't representing this totally accurately - I'm a lefty and I was playing ad side last night so I just didn't hit many backhands, and when I was thinking about the noise I was mostly referring to big loopy forehands. When I hit flatter backhands or blocked back hard serves it sounded cool. It probably would have on flat serves too if I'd hit any, but last night I just spammed lefty spin. Very quiet on big angled cuts at the ball though, and muted enough I could see some people describing the ball contact as "vague" on these strokes. This was another factor in me feeling like I wasn't getting a ton of pace on the ball, the impact was just a lot less than I was used to on these strokes - If I had gotten that kind of feedback from my APDs, I would be expecting the ball to not make it over the net.
I wonder if the "muted" feeling contributed to some players thinking there's less spin. I don't notice a decrease in spin potential.
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
I wonder if the "muted" feeling contributed to some players thinking there's less spin. I don't notice a decrease in spin potential.
I was wondering this too, I thought the same thing. I'm used to a large degree of "bite" with most racquets on my forehands, and that feedback wasn't as notable with this thing. Even on really heavy slice serves, they came off the racquet feeling like they were hit much flatter than they actually were. Basically, on any shot I was hitting with a significant amount of spin there was an incongruity between the shot I would expect to have hit based on the racquet's feedback, and the shot I actually hit. I'll focus on it more tonight.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
That's surprising. I find the latest update to have more power than the previous generation. Power is super easy to generate. The racquet practically does half the work for you. My ball was zipping thru the court with half-ass stroke. I strung mine with a super low-powered poly (Tour Sniper) at 62 lbs. And yes, the racquet is still shockingly comfortable at that tension.
It could be the added tech and tortional stability giving you more control and confidence / feel to hit out.. who knows, best way is to use same setups with strings and tensions for all tests... I am not doubting the power.. it's a PD afterall
 

1990's Graphite

Hall of Fame
It could be the added tech and tortional stability giving you more control and confidence / feel to hit out.. who knows, best way is to use same setups with strings and tensions for all tests... I am not doubting the power.. it's a PD afterall
One of my regular hitting partners uses the smurf and this new version, matched specs, same string setup and the smurf for me is more powerful, not much more but noticed. His shots though are better placed and angles are wicked. Volleys are great too, might have something to do with the new material / torsional area. This new version looks to be improved over the previous... my fave is still pure drive team back from early 2000's
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
One of my regular hitting partners uses the smurf and this new version, matched specs, same string setup and the smurf for me is more powerful, not much more but noticed. His shots though are better placed and angles are wicked. Volleys are great too, might have something to do with the new material / torsional area. This new version looks to be improved over the previous... my fave is still pure drive team back from early 2000's
I concur on the drastic volley improvement. For the life of me, I could never volley well with previous PDs. Not that I have amazing hands at net to start with. But the new PD seems a lot more stable at net.
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
I concur on the drastic volley improvement. For the life of me, I could never volley well with previous PDs. Not that I have amazing hands at net to start with. But the new PD seems a lot more stable at net.
Agree, it rocked at the net. I have no complaints. I was worried because people were talking about the open pattern's impact on control but it rocked everything back right about where I wanted it. Granted I don't expect scalpel-like precision coming from an APD, but it was very pleasant. Hit a few cutesy touch shots that were decidedly un-PD-esque too.
 

JonnyAbs

Semi-Pro
I had the feeling that my shots were coming off hard and dying between the service line and the baseline. Which is a good thing because they were staying in, and had good pace. It just had that appearance of dying and diving late for me. I don't know why.

I also had great touch with it, especially on volleys, and I completely lack that with my 2015.
 

M Pillai

Rookie


Got the gift from UPS yesterday evening, and strung it up right away. These are top-priority items in my list :) so cannot wait. Had a 15 minute hitting just to get a first impression. Will have more hitting today, and is going to get a lot of mileage with it this week.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Got mine is as well. The pattern is denser in the center than I expected, and this is a good thing. It's not 18x20 dense, but it does appear the control should be pretty good.

@pyrokid - the rubber band it comes with plus the thin plastic cover on the buttcap weighs 2.5 grams if you wanted to shed some weight. I know yours came in a little heavy. Mine is 301.5 so I got a pretty good spec. It's 324.5 strung with an OG and Dampener for me. I strung it with S7T 17 at 53#s. Will be plqaying mine stock as TW requested, but down the road if I add any lead I will document what changes there. I don't think it will need very much.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I measured the balance and static weight after stringing + an overgrip, and I got 321g and 4points HL. Which seems correct based on possible og/string weight. Have not done the swing weight measurements yet.

You have an rdc? Sw would be most appreciated!
 
I received my demo. Thanks TW and Babolat!!!!! I had no plans on hitting but my buddy called me up saying he was ready to hit so I raced to string the new Pure Drive up! Fortunately, it is easy to string and I was out the door quickly, racquet in hand!
I normally play with the 2018 Pure Drive Plus and went 8-0 using it in 4.0 & 4.5 league play. I also went 1-0 when trying the standard length 2018 Pure Drive.. more about that later.
I hit a few warm up shots with it and the shorter length took some adjustment.
But when we started hitting from the baseline it felt VERY solid.
This demo came at the perfect time for me because I've been tinkering with standard length racquets for a while but never quite clicked with one enough to make the switch.
The Pure Drive Plus serves huge which I always fall back on because I win with it. But there are situations when I find the length a slight hindrance.. although I use it because it swings faster for me than other extended racquets even when I add lead at 12! And it serves bombs. Did i mention that??

Anyway, I've tried Blades, Strikes, Ezone98, etc and although I can use them, I end up coming back to the PD+ because I need more free points and shorter points. Im in my 40s and have problems with my feet. I played a really good match with the Strike 98 but I had to do so much defensive scrambling that my feet hurt for days afterwards! Even though it was fun, I walked off the court thinking, "Im too old for this #$+@!!!!".

I did try the 2018 standard length Pure Drive and as soon as I picked it up it felt so light and whippy I thought it was a kids frame. I ended up adding a ton of weight to the handle and hoop.. it was well over 12oz. I won the match and it played pretty well but I just felt that it shouldn't take so much weight just to make a racquet playable for me.

So after my first hit with the 2021 Pure Drive... So far, Its AMAZING!!! Just on pickup it felt better. Maybe thats a few more grams in the head..just felt more solid.
I took a few swings and it felt good. Took the dampener off, and it still felt good. Normally a Pure Drive would play pingy and tinny but the technology (foam?) does a great job of smoothing out the sound and feel from that racquet. I would almost say too much dampening since I'm used to a little feedback and with a dampener, this PD is MUTED. Maybe that will translate into arm comfort?
I used Wilson Revolve Spin mains and maybe it helped because I was still trying to dial my stroke depth and a lot of balls that felt like I mishit just a bit landed right on the line. However, the Pure Drive doesn't normally need the higher trajectory that the RevolveSpin strings provided. It probably took away the ability to drive through the court but it made the racquet a spin monster!
Without lead the Pure Drive 2021 was easy to swing, slappy, spin friendly and balls stayed in the court but it definitely lacked plow for advanced hitting.
I added about 4g of lead at 12 and the racquet came alive for me.
My hitting wasn't always super clean due to usually using extended frames but I was able to move the ball around and dictate play with my forehand.
I hit a few volleys and felt a BIG difference from previous versions. It felt dampened and more solid. Volleys are still super powerful which cause my forehand volleys to land out the first 3 balls in a row. It's not the best stick at the net.. not a "scalpel", but its a Pure Drive so that is expected. Surprisingly, the more volley I hit with it, I started feeling this softness and even some flex which provided more control than previous generations. Touch volleys & drop shots I felt were MUCH more connected with the 2021PD!
Finally, the serve. This is where I usually compare racquets to my PD+ and decide I can't give up that huge advantage of aces and unreturned serves so I always stay with the PD+.
Instead of losing 10+mph, I might lose only 5mph with the new PD. However, I hit ALL my spots. I'll have to continue to test this because maybe its the dreaded honeymoon phase. The confidence I had on serve was surprising since it was my first time using it ever. When my hitting partner called my flat bomb out wide in the ad court, Out. (Cheater! ) I was considering pounding the 2nd serve in the exact same spot! I decided hit a safer kick serve that time but I promised next time at the ad to go for it again. I was able to hit slices, kicks, flat down T and out wide (which is my lowest percentage serve).
My percentage was definitely higher than even the PD+ but more serves came back. As I got tired, a few short returns came back that should be a great ball to run up to and slam away for a winner but due to being tired and poor preparation, I missed several short forehands that made easy service games drawn out battles. I started out 3-0 and won the set 6-3.

Overall, my first impression is Hugely Impressed!! I am already considering switching!
I'm going to continue to hit with it and play sets alternating with my PD+.

PD+
Serve - 10/10
Forehand- 8/10
Backhand- 9/10
Volleys - 6/10
Returns - 7/10

2021 PD
Serve - 9/10
Forehand - 8/10
Backhand - 8/10
Volleys - 7/10
Returns - 8/10

I'll lose a few aces but the easier maneuverability will hopefully allow quicker swings on return of serve and better volleys and drop shots and overall more control?
For some reason I feel like the 2021 PD would be better in singles and the PD+ better in doubles but I hope to decide which one is better for me overall during this playtest.

Here is 30seconds of hitting before my toaster/potato phone died.

 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
I've heard a lot about the FX500, has me wondering too. I'm trying to borrow a 2019 PA to test out alongside the PD, I might wanna try for one of those too.
 
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