What tennis racquet does Rafael Nadal play with? The pictures tell us it’s a Babolat Pure Aero Play, but it’s really a Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original. Like I’ve written about so many times before, what you see on TV is not really what they actually play with. The pro players are most often using pro stock racquets in various paint jobs. If you want to find out what racquets other ATP pro’s actually use…read this.
That’s why most people believe that Rafael Nadal is playing with a Babolat Pure Aero Play, which is the latest version of the Babolat Aero Pro Drive series, but what he’s actually playing with is the Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original (1st edition from 2005). As you can see if you read the small print in the image below – Babolat says that the player might actually use a different model or racquet altogether.
So why is his racquet painted like the Pure Aero or the Pure Aero Play? Well, because Babolat want to sell more racquets and selling a more than ten year old model is not really feasible to them. So instead they do what most racquet companies do these days, keep producing the Aero Pro Drive Original for Rafa, but paint it like the latest model.
Rafa did try to play with the Pure Aero model (or at least the similar FSI string pattern) for a few tournaments while he was struggling, but he didn’t get the results he was looking for and didn’t completely trust his shots with the added power that the Pure Aero is offering. So he went back to the Aero Pro Drive Original.
What are his current specs you may wonder?
If you ask the tennis gear lovers at forums like TTW, you’ll get detailed answers like this (from poster “Romain”, but it’s hard to know for sure.
Rafael Nadal racquet specs:
– Babolat aeropro drive 2005 (4 1/4) painted in Pure Aero Play
-14g lead: 9g at 12 and 5g in handle
– Babolat Syntec Pro Black + Babolat Vs Original White
– Babolat Custom Damp
– Balance Unstrung: around 325 mm
– Balance Strung: around 335 mm
– String: Babolat RPM blast 1.35
– Racquet weight Unstrung: Around 318.5g (300 + 14 + 4.5 for the OG)
– Racquet weight Strung : Around 337-340g ( 318.5 + 3.5g for the Damp + String (dont know the exact weight of RPM 1.35)
How do you feel about this? Do you feel cheated because the racquet companies aren’t up front with what their top players are playing with? Or is this just marketing and we should let it go? Let me know in the comments.
Rafael Nadal’s tennis gear
If you’re looking for other articles about buying tennis gear and racquets, I suggest the following posts:
Racquet buying guides
Here is a great racquet buying guide to get you started.
What tennis racquet should I buy?
Top tennis racquets to buy right now
The Gear of the Year 2016
Tennis racquets for juniors
Tennis racquets for kids
Some general info about Rafael Nadal:
MANACOR, MALLORCA, SPAIN
MANACOR, MALLORCA, SPAIN
LEFT-HANDED, TWO-HANDED BACKHAND
CARLOS MOYA AND TONI NADAL