Babolat Pure Drive 2021 Review & Playtest Notes
Much of this resource is focused heavily on learning more about the Babolat Pure Drive 2021 and setting expectations for the frame. However, specs, descriptions of tech, etc., will only take you so far.
To bring this review full circle, I’ve thoroughly playtested the Pure Drive to share my experience and describe its performance with you. Before diving into the details, here are a few playtest notes that you might find useful when considering my thoughts and opinions on this racquet.
Below you’ll find ratings on a variety of criteria I use when evaluating a tennis racquet. In the following sections, I’ll seek to provide context for how I arrived at each of these scores.
On groundstrokes, the Pure Drive is a powerhouse. Even with a stiff poly like RPM Blast, it delivers excellent pace, and it’s well suited for baseline players who enjoy hitting a heavy ball.
It’s worth noting that if you use a more traditional eastern grip, you may find the power overbearing relative to those using a semi-western or western grip, which generally enables greater topspin.
With a 100 square inch head size and open 16×19 string pattern, topspin comes easily and is one of the frame’s highlights, which pairs well with its extra power to help players maintain control.
Regarding feel, the Pure Drive has a stable and crisp response, which is a function of its higher RA or stiffness rating of 71.
As a result, it lacks comfort, but I’d argue it outperforms in this area relative to what the rating suggests and highlights that players shouldn’t take stiffness at face value without full consideration of all specs, materials, and strings.
The Pure Drive’s moderate head size offers plenty of margin for error at the net, but volleys aren’t the racquet’s strongest area of performance, and its power can be tricky to control at times.
However, with that said, I do find the racquet to be sufficiently stable, and you’ll have plenty of power on tap for quick replies and confident put-aways that will keep your opponents on their toes.
Overall, the racquet works well at the net, but if your game places a strong emphasis on precision volleys and you’re looking for maximum finesse, then you will likely be disappointed by what the Pure Drive offers.
On serves, the Pure Drive is excellent, and it’s easily one of my favorite shots to hit with the frame.
It delivers exceptional power and plenty of spin, which I think will please many players looking to turn things up in this department.
However, if you’re more inclined to emphasize placement and you like to serve and volley, then you’ll likely find the frame’s raw power and net performance to be lacking relative to what you’ll get from a control-oriented frame.
Hitting returns, I found the Pure Drive to be quite good.
The frame is plenty maneuverable and stable enough to manage extra pace while offering ample spin and an excellent response when tightening up your stroke.
At times its power can catch you a little off guard, especially when fielding a heavier serve, so that may take some players a bit to get used to, but generally, I thought the Pure Drive was solid in this area.