Category Archives: Tennis Racquet Reviews

The Rise of the Babolat Pure Drive

The Babolat brand was originally known for being the first company to introduce natural gut tennis string back in 1875, but over the years they have proved to be much more than that with their innovating line of racquets including the Babolat Pure Drive.

In 1994, Babolat decided to enter the racquet market and has since become the fastest growing manufacturer in the world with racquet lines like the Babolat Pure Drive. After their U.S. launch some years ago, the brand is now competing with market leaders like Wilson, Prince and Head. In fact, 22% of the top male and female tennis players prefer Babolat tennis racquets.

Kevin Kempin, vice president for sales and marketing of Head/Penn stated, “Where it was once Wilson, Head and Prince, Babolat has come along and added a fourth competitor.”

In the late 90`s Andy Roddick was introduced to Babolat racquets by his coach at the time, former French pro, Tarik Benhabiles. “After about five minutes, I asked him to get me a couple more,” said Roddick.

Andy Roddick decided to switch to Babolat racquets and four months later he was ranked world No.1 among junior players. Roddick now has his Babolat racquet named after him; the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT.

The entrance of Babolat into the racquet market almost came to an end just four years into the racquet push. In 1998, Babolat CEO, Pierre Babolat passed away in the Swissair crash off Nova Scotia, making Eric Babolat the new CEO. He was only 28 years old and had just a few years of marketing experience under his belt.

“I can say that it was a tough time, but it was clear for everyone to push the racket part of the business,” Eric has said, but he proved successful. In 2006 he had a sales growth of about $116 million.

Babolat`s first big pro to endorse their new racquet lines was Carlos Moya, who won the 1998 French Open  using the blue and while Babolat Pure Drive, however, the major step forward for the brand`s racquet line may have been signing Andy Roddick.

With superstar Roddick and other big hitters such as Rafael Nadal, the Babolat Pure Drive frame was No.1 in pro/specialty sales in September 2002 and remained at No.1 all the way through March 2006 with the exception of only two months in the four year period.

Although U.S. sales are continuing to grow, Babolat still has some challenges to overcome. “You keep wondering: Will [Babolat] Pure Drive keep selling?” stated John Swetka, owner Swetka’s Tennis Shop in Mountain View, California.

In the U.S., despite growing from about 150 to 900 outlets, Babolat has had distribution problems and has had to assure retailers about local exclusivity and competitors like Wilson and Prince have recently introduced new innovative racquet technology. “Right now they are kind of a two-racket company,” says Jon Muir, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports, speaking about the Babolat Pure Drive and AeroPro Drive lines.

Despite some challenges, the Babolat Pure Drive and AeroPro Drive lines pose a threat to market competitors. With only 18 years in the tennis racquet industry, Babolat has made immense progress and will no doubt continue to grow.


Serena Williams Claims 40th Title Win With Her Wilson K Factor Racquet

With only four months into the New Year, 13 titles have already been won by players using a Wilson racquet; whether it be from the Wilson K Factor or BLX lines.

One of the winners on the Wilson team, Serena Williams, achieved her 40th WTA title on April 9, 2012 in Charleston, S.C. with her Wilson K Factor tennis racquet. In fact, for all of her title wins, Serena has used a Wilson racquet.

Williams uses  the Wilson K Factor Blade Team tennis racquet which is an upgrade from the K Blade 106. The K Blade Team maintains the traditional feel but has a lighter headsize.

The K Blade Team also upholds the power and stability of the Wilson K Factor technology which includes [K]arophite Black, the [K]ompact Center, [K]Zone and [K]Grip.

There is definitely no better endorsement for the Wilson K Factor line than having such a renowned female player gain even more success with a racquet from the series. Renaud Vallon, global tour director of Wilson Racquet Sports, is extremely proud of the tennis star, saying, “We extend heart-felt congratulations to Serena on her impactful win yesterday.”

Vallon also  predicts that 2012 will be an outstanding year for Serena with her natural skill and the technology in her Wilson K Factor racquet. “She has won countless matches over the course of her renowned tennis career, and this is certainly an impressive milestone we knew would be close at hand.  This will no doubt be a strong year for Serena with the form she’s in and the dominance she’s currently showing in the WTA.”

Congratulations to Serena Williams! With 40 titles under her belt and her Wilson K Factor tennis racquet in her hand, the future is bright for this already successful tennis diva.

Victoria Azarenka Undefeated With the Juice 100 Wilson BLX Racquet

Wilson BLX tennis racquets are used by many pros throughout the tennis community such as Alexander Dolgopolov, Feliciano Lopez, Mardy Fish and many more, but the most notable player might be Roger Federer, who prefers  the Wilson BLX ProStaff Six.One 90.

The newest member of Wilson`s team, Victoria Azarenka, known for her relentless grunting on the court, is making her mark on the tennis world with a whole new kind of racquet; the Juice 100, one of the racquets from the Wilson BLX line.

Since switching to the Juice 100  Wilson BLX tennis racquet, “Vika the Shrieka,” as she is sometimes called, is 12-0, undefeated in 2012. At the Australian Open she beat defending champion, Kim Clijsters, in the semifinals and before that, she won the Sydney International title.

Renaud Vallon, global tour director of Wilson Racquet Sports is extremely happy that Azarenka is promoting the new Wilson BLX Juice 100, “We are tremendously proud of Vika and could not have asked for a better way to showcase the power of our new Juice racket than her performance here in Melbourne.” He went on to say,  “It is phenomenal to see her achieve her goal of winning a Grand Slam title. She has done everything necessary to get to this point in her tennis career and has an incredibly bright future.”

Azarenka`s win with the new Wilson BLX racquet over Maria Sharapova at the 2012 Australian Open in Melbourne has not only given her the WTA world no.1 ranking but gives Wilson more Grand Slam titles than any other tennis equipment manufacturer; more than 500!

Azarenka`s streak in 2012 has the tennis community wondering what will be next for the Belarusian tennis star. Her skills, along with the power of her new racquet, the Juice 100 Wilson BLX, the forecast for her future in the tennis world is extremely bright!

Creative Home Décor Using Tennis Racquets!

While cleaning out my garage I stumbled upon a pile of old tennis racquets; some of them I used as a child, others worn out, some past down and even some vintage racquets I somehow acquired over the years.

I didn`t have the heart to toss them all in the dump pile so I decided to donate them but I held on to some of sentimental value, like the wooden tennis racquets that are somewhat of a family heirloom, passed down to me from generations before.

These wooden tennis racquets wouldn`t work in a match, they were long retired, but I didn`t want to just leave them in the garage for another ten years until I cleaned it out again.  I went online and discovered some creative things you can do with an old tennis racquet.

One of my favorite ideas was the tennis racquet jewelry display. It`s simple and adds some color to your walls! All you need it a nail to hang it up in the perfect spot.

Another fun idea was turning old vintage tennis racquets into wall mirrors. This requires a little bit more work than the jewelry display but is still pretty simple.

Take your old tennis racquet to the glass shop and have them custom cut the glass to fit the racquet head then use liquid nails to stick the mirror to the racquet. Hang it up and you have yourself a unique tennis racquet wall mirror that can add some flare to your house.

Now for the most creative idea of all, in my opinion, is the tennis racquet display shelf. This is somewhat trickier and will take some extra time but it is well worth it!

For this project you need a piece of fine wood (distressed if you want), three or four copper plated hooks, screws and of course, an old tennis racquet.

From what it seems, you cut the top quarter of the racquet so it can lay parallel to the rest of head, don`t cut it all the way through so that you don`t sever the string.

Use the piece of wood and cut it to fit the top half of the tennis racquet, you can paint it any color you wish. Fashion the plated hooks to the bottom so that you can hang things like award ribbons, keys or anything light.

Drill two holes into the top part of the tennis racquet handle so that you can secure it to the wall. (I know my directions are somewhat confusing but the picture to the left should clear up any misunderstanding!)

With so many creative things you can do with tennis racquets, other than hit tennis balls, you can preserve your memories and add some style to your home!

Babolat: From Strings to the Babolat Pure Drive

Beginning in 1875, the French company, Babolat, began manufacturing string. It wasn’t until 1994 that they began making other tennis equipment like shoes, bags and most importantly, tennis racquets, like their Babolat Pure Drive.

In the 18 years that Babolat has been producing tennis racquets, they have made huge strides in the tennis industry like being the most popular brand of racquets used in the Australian Open in 2005.

The newest release in Babolat`s line is the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT, enhanced with Babolat`s secret ingredient, graphite tungsten. Graphite tungsten technology is a hybrid material composed of braided carbon fibers and tungsten filaments throughout the whole racquet.

The Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT is perfect for players with moderate to full strokes, for the 4.5+ NTRP level players. Along with the GT technology, this racquet has Woofer Technology. Woofer is the first technology of its kind, making the frame and the strings interact with each other upon impact, delivering 10% more strength than other racquets.

The Cortex System implemented in the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT racquet is an active technology between the throat and the handle; these two parts are interconnected by an interface in the CDS (Cortex Dampening System) material, virtually eliminating unneeded vibrations.

The elliptic geometry of the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT is the ideal design which guarantees less torsion, and a +20% firmer beam, making for better maneuverability with more power.

Any of the Babolat Pure Drive tennis racquets offer superior performance for enhanced play. Babolat started as only a string company and has evolved into one of the top sports equipment companies in the world. Their tennis racquets are definitely worth every penny!