Rafael Nadal’s new racket for 2013 is essentially an upgraded version of the one he has been using this year – the 2013 Babolat AeroPro Drive. There are a few changes from the old model, with some being more about functionality and some being simply cosmetic changes.
The very distinct change from last year’s racket is the introduction of Babolat’s Cortex Dampening System to the AeroPro range, technology which has been part of the Pure Drive range throughout 2012. Its vibration dampening system designed to improve feel by reducing the high-frequency vibrations generated during both ball striking. The Aero range has always been a fairly stiff racket, so this will be a welcome addition to those looking to upgrade from the old model.
There has also been a few minor changes to the weight of the racket with Babolat looking to make it a bit more manoeuvrable. The swing weight is down on last year and the balance has changed to 7 points head light from 4, while the overall weight of the racket is fairly similar to the previous model.
Early reviews have been broadly positive, with the range continuing its tradition of producing plenty of power for players and the high levels of spin the racket is known for has remained intact. The one area in which it has reallly delivered is control, and precision shots appear to have been the main focus when designing this racket. The frame, as with previous Babolat rackets, remains reasonably stiff and it can be a challenging racket to use for the more inexperienced players.
Cosmetically the main thing which has been changed is paint job, although it has retained the distinctive black and yellow colour scheme of last year’s racket. Nadal fans will no doubt be all over this one, although it remains to be seen if the rest of the tennis world will be as enthusiastic about Babolat’s 2013 version of the AeroPro Drive.
2013 Babolat AeroPro Drive racket specs:
Head Size:100 sq. in. / 645.16 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.3oz / 320.35g
Balance: 7 points HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension: 55-65 pounds