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Just released in the fall of 2017, the much anticipated 2018 version of the Babolat Pure Drive is now here. This is the first update to the Pure Drive line of racquets since 2015, so we should have lots to discuss in this review. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Babolat Pure Drive 2018 Changes
First, let’s discuss the changes from the last version of the Babolat Pure Drive (which we reviewed here ). Visually, you’ll see some differences instantly. Babolat decided to go with a slightly different color scheme for the updated version of this racquet. Personally, I think the racquet looks sleek with the shiny blue and white.
Some people have mentioned, however, that the color scheme makes the racquet look a little bit like a toy. To these people, I say after playing with the Pure Drive 2018 for an hour, you won’t think of it as a toy again.
As can be seen from the table, the specifications have mostly remained the same between the two versions.
|Pure Drive 2018||Pure Drive 2015|
|Head size||100 sq in||100 sq in|
|Weight (strung)||11.2 oz||11.2 oz|
|Balance||4 pts head light||4 pts head light|
One key difference is that the stiffness rating of the Babolat Pure Drive 2018 is slightly lower than the older version. In the 2018 version, Babolat introduced Cortex Pure Feel which aims to decrease the shock from the stiff frame. This could be why the stiffness rating changed.
Playing with the Babolat Pure Drive 2018
Time for my favorite part of the review: how the Babolat Pure Drive 2018 plays on the court. With a name like Pure Drive, you should expect pure power from this racquet. With full swings from the baseline, the updated Pure Drive provides plenty of pop and power to any ball you hit.
In fact, at times it can almost be too much power. Intermediate to advanced player with long strokes should definitely be placing top spin on every shot with this racquet. If you’re a player capable of using top spin to it’s full potential, you’ll have a lot of fun on the court pushing your opponents further and further back using the power of this racquet.
The Babolat Pure Drive 2018 lives up to it’s name and provides plenty of power for the aggressive player.
In fact, the combination of spin + power with the 2018 Pure Drive makes this racquet absolutely deadly on the court. While typically the Pure Aero is known for it’s spin (mostly thanks to Nadal’s use to win at the top levels using the spin capability of this racquet), this updated version of the Pure Drive makes a point to try and improve on the spin capability. The end result, is the ability to use as much spin as you need to control the massive power of this racquet.
Babolat improved the spin of this racquet in this updated version. The spin + power combination is absolutely deadly.
One area where the Babolat Pure Drive 2018 fell a little short though was in the feel and handling of the tennis ball. While as other racquets are known for their control and so called “touch”, the Babolat Pure Drive provided me with a muted feel whenever I hit the ball. In part, I attribute this to the Cortex Pure Feel technology in the 2018 frame.
This technology was designed to dampen the response and vibrations as a way to mitigate the stiff frame. In essence, Babolat may have gone too far in muting the feel of the racquet. If you prefer a little more control over your shots or prefer placing fancy drop shots right at the net, I’d recommend the Prince Textreme 100 instead.
Babolat Pure Drive 2018 Summary
With a massive following, the Babolat Pure Drive is one of the most well-known racquets out there. In this 2018 version, Babolat has refined the power of the Pure Drive and increased the capability for spin. While the “touch” of the racquet is lacking, the combination of power + spin will take aggressive players to victory after victory.