Expert Review: Babolat Pure Drive 100 Racquet · Unstrung
This review is my honest opinion of the racquet, which I tested for 5 days in August of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the racquet, which I tested for 5 days in August of 2022.
The Babolat Pure Drive 100 is the latest update of the immensely popular Pure Drive racquet. It continues to offer loads of power, easy access to spin, and great maneuverability with improved feel. It is a top choice for rising beginners to advanced competitors looking to up the pace of their game.
About the racquet I tested
- Model: Babolat Pure Drive 100 2021
- Grip Size: 4 ⅜ / EU 3
- String and Tension: Volkl VStar 16g, strung at 56 lbs
- Head size: 100in2
- Racquet Length: 27in
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Previous Racquet Played With: Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP
- Experience: 28 years of tennis
- NTRP/UTA Rating: 5.0
- When I tested it: August 2022
- Days tested: 5 days
- Court Surfaces: Hard
- Match Play/Practice Session/Both: Both
- Where I’ve used it: Kingsford High School, Kingsford, MI
How it performs
What I was looking for
The Babolat Pure Drive is arguably the most popular racquet on the market today and has been for multiple generations. I’ve tried a handful of previous generations going back to high school, yet I hadn’t found it to be a fit for my game. With a new update for late 2021, I wanted to revisit it to see if the changes brought it closer to what I like in a racquet.
Why I didn’t choose this racquet
It’s easy to see why the Pure Drive is such a popular racquet. It is very user friendly for a wide range of abilities and gives players a big boost of power and spin—which makes it feel like one is a level better than they are. All in all, it’s a very fun racquet to play with. However, it still doesn’t fit my game well enough for me to switch from my Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP. The Gravity offers better control and feel and is easier on my arm. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Pure Drive to a variety of players, though.
What I love about it
- Power: Babolat and the Pure Drive helped usher in the modern power game, and the signature feature of the lineup continues in this 10th generation. With its wider, 26mm beam at the shoulders of the frame and high, 71RA stiffness value, the Pure Drive resists a lot of flexion on impact and returns that energy into the ball. The ball explodes off the string and drives through the court, making it feel like I am much more powerful than I truly am.
- Groundstrokes: The Babolat Pure Drive is a lot of fun to hit groundstrokes with, especially in a more casual hitting session where targeting isn’t as important. The mix of power and spin makes the ball jump off the strings and keeps the ball deep in the court.
- Serves: The Pure Drive has been synonymous with big serves since Andy Roddick first endorsed it in the mid 2000s. The moderate 320RDC swingweight makes it easy to generate racquet head speed which combines with the inherent power of the frame to add pace to my first serve. The open string pattern with that fast moving nature added some bite to my kick serve and allowed me to get the ball up over my opponents’ shoulders with ease.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Control: With so much power on tap with the Pure Drive, control can be hit or miss, especially when being aggressive. With a fast moving swingweight, it was easy to overhit—sending the ball long or wide of the target. I found more success when going for larger targets in matches and relying on the pace and spin to produce a weak reply rather than going for winners. This is why I found the racquet more enjoyable to use during casual hitting sessions where placement doesn’t matter as much.
- Feel: The major reason I’ve never found Babolat racquets to my liking is their feel and stiffness. The newest generation of the Pure Drive is supposed to have improved feel, which I found to be true, but it is still much too stiff for my game and doesn’t give me the pocketing of the ball on my strings that I desire.
Favorite moment with this gear
The Babolat Pure Drive was like a power boost for my first serve. I’ve always had a fairly big first serve, but as I’ve gotten older I have lost a few MPH. Stepping up to the line with the Pure Drive, I was able to get that pop back and maybe a couple MPH extra.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Babolat Pure Drive 100 2021 is competitively priced with similar models such as the Wilson Ultra 100 V4 and Yonex EZONE 100 while being 10% more expensive than the Dunlop FX500.
The 10th generation of the Babolat Pure Drive 100 continues with a formula that has made it one of the most popular models of all time. Loads of power, good maneuverability, and easy access to spin make it a top choice for players of all levels looking for a relatively lightweight racquet.