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Babolat Pure Aero Racquet Review

Price: $169.00MSRP: $259.00
Overall 86
Groundstrokes 89
Volleys 82
Serves 87
Returns 82
Power 89
Control 80
Maneuverability 78
Stability 81
Comfort 83
Touch/Feel 81
Topspin 96
Slice 83

Summary

The Aero line is known for its easy power, its topspin potential and its ubiquity at all levels, so it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that the Aero family has played a large role in the transformation of the modern baseline game. Spearheaded by Rafael Nadal, the Aero movement created a class of aggressive baseline tennis that has taken the tennis world by storm. The newest addition to this family, the updated Pure Aero, was the perfect candidate for one of our global playtests, and it easily lived up to its reputation. Although it carries the same moniker as its predecessor, there have been some subtle improvements to the Pure Aero, including a classy new cosmetic. This update features a slightly lower RA stiffness rating of 67, and with a relocation of the Cortex dampening system to 9 and 3 o'clock, it offers a more comfortable and controlled response than the previous generation. But fear not longtime Aero users, this comfort didn't come at the cost of the effortless spin and power diehard fans have come to expect from this line. In fact, whether our testers were bashing groundstrokes or cracking serves, this version is still a lively weapon for players of all levels. That's the beauty of this line; it doesn't matter if you're an aspiring beginner or a skilled expert, the benefits of the Pure Aero transcend playing ability and appeal to anyone looking to add a little Rafa to their game.

Upsides

  • Power
  • Spin
  • More comfortable and better feel than previous generation

Downsides

  • Still hard to control flat shots

Bottom Line

The updated Pure Aero features a softer, more comfortable feel and offers better control while still retaining the Aero's hallmark easy power and spin.

Ability

Strong beginner to advanced

Groundstrokes - Score: 89

The Aero line has long been known for its user-friendly power and spin, which have made it an obvious choice for aggressive baseliners or anyone looking for a little extra pop on their groundies. This Pure Aero update features a slightly less stiff response, which provides more comfort and better feel, and according to our testers, it does so without sacrificing the power and spin players have come to expect from the line. On the red clay of Germany, Tennis Warehouse Europe tester Zśofia had a blast seeing just how much spin she could get on the ball. She said, "I was able to generate a lot of topspin for my groundstrokes with this racquet. It provided effortless access to spin — way more than I'm used to with other racquets. I enjoyed the extra spin so much that sometimes I caught myself just fooling around with how much rotation I could generate. It is truly a fun racquet! I was able to get my groundstrokes to bounce really high (as a result of all the spin), and that is a real weapon on the clay."

Although this racquet was more lively than the racquets Sean typically gravitates toward, its user-friendly nature pulled him into its orbit. The Tennis Warehouse playtester remarked, "Since I was moving from my preferred dense-patterned, low-powered frame, I had to adjust to the higher launch angle and the easy power of this newest Pure Aero, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing with this racquet. The massive spin potential grounded that easy power and helped me dictate play from the baseline. Although this version has a lower RA, I felt it still had the the natural power while being more arm friendly overall."

Longtime Aero user and Tennis Warehouse Europe playtester Valerie added, "The Pure Aero helped me get more spin on my groundstrokes, which I usually hit pretty flat. I could get my balls deeper in the court and really push my opponent behind the baseline. I also had great touch with this new racquet and hit nice drop shots."

As a veteran of Tennis Warehouse reviews, Chris has plenty of experience with the Aero racquet line. He said, "I quickly found my groove with this racquet from the baseline. The level of power was pretty close to my regular racquet and not too far removed from my previous Pure Drive Plus. I found a tad more feel for the ball and better control with this update compared to the outgoing Pure Aero. It was easy to transition between the two, but I feel this version has more in common with the older AeroPro Drive. I got lots of power and spin when I took a full cut at the ball. I also found enough power to dig myself out of tough situations. It was my kind of racquet, and I had a lot of fun trading groundstrokes with this new Pure Aero."

Marco, the big-hitting lefty from Tennis Only in Australia, said, "I enjoyed the massive amounts of spin I could generate on my groundstrokes with the Pure Aero. I could really get the ball moving in the air and jumping off the court."

Also testing from down under, Natasha offered, "It took me a little while to get used to the balance of the Pure Aero. It slightly affected my swing and contact point, and I struggled to get the ball out in front. Once I got the timing right I could get a lot of power through the ball with ease. As an aggressive flat baseline player, I'm always trying to add more spin to my shots, and I found this racquet let me put more rip on the ball with ease. I could create better angles with better margins for error."

Volleys - Score: 82

Although the Aero family is not known for its deft touch, the volley is an area where these racquets have always gotten the job done with surprising efficiency. With the lowered RA, the Pure Aero's feel was sure to shine here. Never shy to move toward the net, Chris recalled, "The Pure Aero felt fast and easy to maneuver at net. I had a tad more touch and feel with it compared to the older model and the current Pure Drive. I liked how I could line up the strings with my intended target and get the ball to zip right to it. Any ball above the height of the net could easily be volleyed away with this racquet."

Zśofia much preferred this update to its predecessor up at net. She said, "This racquet felt stable at net, and I was able to get a lot of power for my shots. Due to the vibration dampening updates, this racquet felt much more stable than the previous version."

Sean also had no issues with the stability. He commented, "I thought the Pure Aero held its own in terms of stability at net. It was great for redirecting pace, and it left open the option for touch — a nice balance."

Natasha appreciated how nimble the Pure Aero was when she came forward. She said, "I found the Pure Aero easy to maneuver around the net. It had a great sweetspot for punching through volleys and plenty of feel for my soft touch volleys."

Adding to that, Valerie succinctly said, "This racquet was easy to volley with. It was very stable and had good touch."

"Getting stick on my volleys was easy with the Pure Aero," Marco continued. "The ball sprang off the stringbed and penetrated through the court."

Serves - Score: 87

From all corners of the globe, our testers were enjoying the generous amount of spin and pace they were getting on serve with the Pure Aero. No matter your playing style, it's always nice to start a point off on a good note. The Pure Aero is as good a tool as any to get the confidence going from the first strike. Natasha found the Pure Aero's balance to be natural and smooth. She said, "I enjoyed the swingweight of the racquet, which helped me get a nice rhythm and flow in my service action. I got some nice snap on the ball and could get a nice swinger out wide."

The positivity carried into serving for Chris, who said, "I continued to feel at home with this racquet when it came to serves. My first serve had plenty of pace, and I could mix in spin as needed. I enjoyed using pace down the T with a flatter delivery and using slice to move the ball wide or into the body of my opponents. On second serves, I was able to hit with lots of pace and get the spin I needed to drop the ball on target. No complaints from me here."

Trust us; you never want to be on the returning end of Marco's big lefty serve, especially when he has a spin-friendly racquet like this in his hands. He described, "Again, the easy access to spin allowed me to get my kick serves jumping higher and slice serves sliding wider."

Zśofia found this racquet to be better suited to spin serves than flat ones. She said, "I struggled a bit with my first serves, which I like to hit more flat and heavy. I felt like I didn't have the desired control with those shots. On the other hand, the Pure Aero was perfect for my slice second serves."

Sean also found he was better off putting some extra spin on the ball to get it to land in. He said, "If you're looking for big pop and spin, this is the racquet for you. I seldom recall my kick jumping as high as it did with this racquet. I often found I had to add a bit of spin to control my first serve, but other than that, I had no complaints."

Unlike the other playtesters, Valerie was dialed in on her big flat serves. She beamed, "I love this racquet on serve, as I could hit my favorite flat first serve down the T from the deuce side very powerfully and with great control."

Returns - Score: 82

When returning serves, our playtesters noticed the same benefits they found from the baseline: easy pace, spin, maneuverability and depth. This consistency translated into more balls in play, and it underscores how deadly the Pure Aero was off the ground throughout this playtest. No matter what serve Valerie was dealt, it seemed she had all the answers with the Pure Aero. She described, "With this racquet I was able to find the right answer for any serve: big, slow or kick. Thanks to the extra spin, I could take big swings at second and flat first serves. When I was chipping back returns I found the racquet to be super solid and stable, allowing me to get enough depth behind my ball to recover quickly."

Zśofia found her confidence while returning with the Pure Aero. She said, "I felt like I was able to hit great returns with this racquet. It was easy to get the ball back deep in the court by using the speed of the serve to my advantage. The Pure Aero always felt stable, and I was confident stepping in and attacking returns."

Sean was afforded plenty of variety when returning. He said, "The swingweight was manageable enough for me to get the racquet into position, and it was stable enough to resist twisting on impact. I was impressed with how many options I had on the return: blocking, taking cuts, rolling the ball, it was all there."

Chris needed very little effort to return effectively. He explained, "The fast feel of this racquet made it a great option for returns. Again, getting pace and spin was easy. I only had to take an abbreviated backswing with the Pure Aero to redirect serves with pace and accuracy. I found enough stability on my slice and block returns to be able to relax and maximize feel and placement."

Marco had mixed feelings about returning with the Pure Aero. He said, "I found that control was slightly harder to come by on returns. When I had time to take a bigger swing at a second serve I could access more control, but when I had to rush into place I had to time the shot perfectly."

Natasha also seemed to struggle with the Pure Aero's response on returns. She described, "Returning was great for me when the ball was in my hitting zone; I found a nice sweetspot on the racquet. I struggled with control a little on swinging serves, though. I couldn't get the right feel to put the ball where I wanted it in the court."

Overall - Score: 86

Likes

Marco - "The Pure Aero packs massive amounts of spin, a nice plush feel and a solid sound on impact."

Sean - "The ease of playability is a big plus for me. This is a racquet you can just pick up and enjoy. I like the combination of the lower RA and great access to pace and spin."

Zśofia - "TOPSPIN! I also like the power level, updated vibration dampening and cool style."

Valerie - "I love the power and control, especially on my forehand and serve. The Pure Aero has a large sweetspot, which makes the racquet very forgiving."

Chris - "I thought this was a solid update to the Pure Aero. For me, it bridges the gap between the older AeroPro Drive and the outgoing Pure Aero. I think fans of both will like what this version has to offer."

Natasha - "I love the power this racquet gives me without making me feel out of control."

Dislikes

Marco - "The Pure Aero could do with a touch more stability."

Sean - "I generally prefer frames with smaller head sizes and denser string patterns, so this racquet is a little outside my range, but I still feel I can appreciate what it brings to the table."

Zśofia - "The Pure Aero is not as stable as I would like, and it's missing some control on flat shots."

Valerie - "There's not much to dislike about this racquet — maybe the yellow color? I do prefer the neon yellow from the previous version."

Chris - "None. This was a fun playtest."

Natasha - "I struggled with the weight balance when I caught the ball late. I don't have the strength to do a Nadal buggy whip, sadly!"

Comparing the racquet to others they've tried, our testers said:

Marco - "I found this version of the Pure Aero to play fairly similarly to its predecessor. The nice, plush feel on impact and easy access to spin was a big upside for me with both versions. While I can't think of another racquet that gives me spin and feel quite like the Pure Aero, the Head Graphene Touch Extreme MP does come to mind."

Sean - "I was excited to see the lower RA number when the new Pure Aero came in, but I was worried this might ostracize this racquet's loyal fan base. Once I hit with the Pure Aero 2019, these worries disappeared; I realized that it still played exactly like you'd think a Pure Aero should, but with a more comfortable feel."

Zśofia - "This version of the Pure Aero feels more stable than the previous one, with better vibration dampening and more access to spin and power. Overall, I think the new update does everything the older version did, but better."

Valerie - "This updated Pure Aero is great. It's got the same great feel that I loved in the AeroPro Drive way back in 2006, and the same mighty power level as the previous Pure Aero, but it's much more stable and easy to control. The new Pure Aero also generates way more spin than the previous version."

Chris - "I think players who felt that the outgoing Pure Aero was too much of a departure from the AeroPro Drive will find the new Pure Aero a better fit. Those looking for just a tad more feel and control than the old Pure Aero should definitely give this new one a try. With that said, the power and spin are so close to the outgoing version that I found no adjustment needed when switching between them."

Natasha - "I really liked this Pure Aero, and I felt it suited my game style well. This was my first time playing with a Pure Aero, so I can't compare it to an older version, but I can compare it to my current racquet, the Head Graphene Touch Instinct MP. The main difference I found was the swingweight. The Pure Aero felt a lot more head heavy than I'm used to, which gave me more power and spin on my shots. On the negative side, I struggled with the Pure Aero's swingweight and maneuverability when I caught the ball late or was off balance."

Technical Specifications
Length27 in69 cm
Head Size100 sq in645 sq cm
Balance Point12.99 in 33 cm4pts Head Light
Construction23mm / 26mm / 23mm
CompositionGraphite
String Pattern16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Babolat RDC Ratings
ScoreGrade
Flex Rating67Range: 0-100
Swing Weight324Range: 200-400

Scores

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Sean's Scores
Power9.2Serves8.5
Control8.1Groundstrokes9
Maneuverability8.3Returns8.6
Stability8.8Slice9
Comfort8.4Topspin9.5
Touch/Feel7.9Volleys8.6
Overall8.7
Valerie's Scores
Power10Serves9
Control9Groundstrokes10
Maneuverability8.5Returns9
Stability9Slice8.5
Comfort8.5Topspin10
Touch/Feel8Volleys8.5
Overall9.5
Chris' Scores
Power8.3Serves8.6
Control8.4Groundstrokes8.7
Maneuverability8.3Returns8.6
Stability8Slice8.2
Comfort8.2Topspin8.4
Touch/Feel8.2Volleys8.2
Overall8.6
Zśofia's Scores
Power8Serves7
Control7Groundstrokes7.5
Maneuverability7Returns8
Stability8Slice8
Comfort8Topspin10
Touch/Feel8Volleys8
Overall7.9
Marco's Scores
Power8.6Serves9
Control8.5Groundstrokes9
Maneuverability8.4Returns8
Stability8Slice8.2
Comfort8.8Topspin9.5
Touch/Feel8.6Volleys8
Overall8.8
Natasha's Scores
Power9Serves10
Control7Groundstrokes9
Maneuverability6Returns7
Stability7Slice8
Comfort8Topspin10
Touch/Feel8Volleys8
Overall8
Price: $169.00MSRP: $259.00

Playtester Profiles

Marco: Open level lefty aggressive baseliner with a semi-western forehand and a one-handed backhand. He currently plays with a Wilson Blade 98 16x19 Countervail.

Sean: Open level counterpuncher with a semi-western forehand and a two-handed backhand. He currently plays with the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 (310).

Zśofia: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand and a one-handed backhand. She currently plays with a Wilson Steam 100 BLX.

Valerie: Open level player with an aggressive game style featuring a two-handed backhand. She currently plays with the Babolat Pure Aero Plus.

Chris: 4.5 all-court player currently using the Tecnifibre TFlash 300 PS. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.

Natasha: Open level player with an aggressive baseline game style and two-handed backhand. She currently plays the Head Graphene Touch Instinct Midplus.

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