Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT Tennis Racquet Review
June 15th, 2011
The Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT is a major component of the Babolat tennis racquet line, and one of the most popular frames with players of all levels. The racquet comes in a 27 inch standard version, and a 27.5 (plus) frame utilized by Andy Roddick. The standard frame weighs 11.8 ounces strung and both frames have a 100 square inch head. The recommended string tension is 55-62 pounds.
Babolat markets this racquet as a good fit for 4.5 level NTRP or intermediate players. If you spend 20 minutes at any junior tennis tournament in Southern California, you will see that this frame is immensely popular with both competent and more accomplished junior players. My guess would be that the ease of accessing power with this racquet is the major selling point to many of the players whom use it. The racquet has excellent balance and the relatively dense string pattern makes it a comfortable racquet to produce spin with. The design and construction of the racquet result in a frame that plays much lighter than the numbers would indicate. This is both a selling point and a negative.
The first four or five times I hit with this racquet I didn’t like it at all, and I would have rebuffed rudely and loudly anyone who suggested that it would be the frame I would eventually choose to play with. Some of this was due to the typical condition of a much used demo racquet, loose string and a worn grip. The other major factor was that the ball just sailed off the strings. The first word I used to describe the experience of hitting with this racquet to friends was ‘trampoline’.
As I went through the process of hitting with different racquets I kept coming back and trying it again, because of the ease in swinging it, and the very crisp feel of the ball off of the strings. The racquet is fun to play with. My backhand and serve were comfortable right away, my serve was actually easier to control with this racquet than most of the other racquets I tried out. As soon as I put a new grip on the demo, some of the volley variance disappeared and finally it was just a question of the occasional forehand flying into the parking lot.
I bought a frame and had it strung with Luxillon Spin 16 gauge at 60 pounds. The number of balls sailing was reduced dramatically right away. Eventually I had to slide my forehand grip to the right and produce a little more spin on groundstrokes to keep the ball in. Purists will probably say that you should not have to make changes to play with a frame, maybe that is true. But if the tradeoff is more power and control, than maybe the discussion takes on a different tone. I have also added 6 grams of weight to the top of each frame.
My best guess is that this racquet is popular for reasons such as the star power of Andy Roddick and the excellent cosmetic presentation. But in the hands of a good player, and properly set up and tuned this is a racquet with the potential to significantly advance your game. Who would not want to at least take a serious look at that possibility?