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Rafael Nadal’s Tennis Racquet

by Tennisnerd
US Open 2019 Men's Final Predictions

What is Rafael Nadal’s tennis racquet? Nadal endorses the Babolat Pure Aero but plays with an AeroPro Drive Original painted to look like one.

Rafael Nadal’s tennis racquet is not what a lot of people will tell you it is. Rafa endorses the Babolat Pure Aero racquet but actually uses the Babolat AeroPro Drive Original that he strings with Babolat RPM Blast strings. Like I’ve written about so many times before, what you see on TV is not really what the tennis pros actually play with (except for in some rare cases, like with Roger Federer’s tennis racquet. The pro players are most often using pro stock racquets in various paint jobs. If you want to find out what racquets other ATP pros actually use…read this post.

So why is Rafael Nadal’s tennis racquet painted like the Babolat Pure Aero? Well, because Babolat want to sell more racquets and selling a more than ten-year-old model is not really feasible for them (or other brands in the tennis industry). 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.

Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original - Rafa Nadal specRafa 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.

Rafael Nadal’s Tennis Racquet – The Specs

Babolat Pure Aero 2019 Racquet Review

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. What I do know for sure is that Nadal over the years has kept adding more weight to his racquets to increase power and stability. Ways you can add weight and customize your racquets include adding lead tape to the frame, there is also so-called balancer tape from Babolat that includes tungsten and not lead (which can be poisonous so wash your hands when using it!).

– Babolat Aero Pro drive 2005 (4 1/4) in Pure Aero 2019 paint
-17g lead: 12g at 12 and 5g in the handle
– Babolat Syntec Pro Black + Babolat Vs Original White
– Babolat Custom Damp
– Balance Strung: around 335 mm
– String: Babolat RPM blast 1.35
– Racquet weight strung: 340 grams (including dampener and overgrip).

How do you feel about this? Do you feel cheated because the racquet companies aren’t upfront 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 list of tennis gear

Babolat Pure Aero Play edition
Babolat RPM Blast
Nike Lunar Ballistic Tennis Shoes

Nike Men’s Challenger Rafa tennis shirt
Nike Men’s Summer tennis shorts
Babolat Pure Aero tennis bag

Some general info about Rafael Nadal:

AGE
33(1986.06.03)
TURNED PRO
2001
WEIGHT
188LBS(85KG)
HEIGHT
6’1″(185CM)
BIRTHPLACE
MANACOR, MALLORCA, SPAIN
RESIDENCE
MANACOR, MALLORCA, SPAIN
PLAYS
LEFT-HANDED, TWO-HANDED BACKHAND
COACH
CARLOS MOYA AND TONI NADAL

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17 comments

Venu April 19, 2017 - 4:14 pm

What is the source of this specs?

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Tennisnerd April 19, 2017 - 7:42 pm

Stringers on the tour…

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Curious May 8, 2017 - 8:14 pm

Size of racquet head known?

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Tennisnerd May 9, 2017 - 8:22 am

Yes, 100 sq inches. A Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original.

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Omar October 22, 2017 - 12:52 am

– Racquet weight Unstrung: Around 318.5g (300 + 14 + 4.5 for the OG)
What is the 14 g for ?

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Tennisnerd October 23, 2017 - 9:13 am

The 14 grams is for lead tape. He’s been adding more and more over the years. I think he’s up to 345 grams strung nowadays. Cheers / Jonas

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clayrafa May 31, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Every player should customise his racket to have the feel needed either to be easier on the elbow or match your tennis level.
The racket you buy is just a base depending on your research and style of play. Often the mimicry of our favourite players is a factor in our racket choice but unfortunately it does not always match our game or needs.
I love Rafa and played all my young years on clay, have a very big top spin and love the clay game. I went for the last production Babolat Pure Aero, great but definitely needed some adjustment. I got two and you need to keep in mind that out of factory the same build as slight different characteristic (mine are 3g apart and a slight variation of dimension in the crosses a few mm.

It is hard (almost impossible) to find a racket that will match exactly your needs out of the factory.

Definitely needed to add some weight in the handle for my part to find more stabilitily.

All top players play with Custom rackets which is basically just an adjusted racket to their needs and game they possess and area they want to improve. Same things goes down for strings etc.

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Viorel July 28, 2018 - 9:39 pm

Hi Jonas,

What is your opinion about the Babolat Pure Aero Tour racquet (315 g)? Did you hit with it? I think it has the closest specs (weight) and the most appropiate racquet on market with Rafa’s racquet (Babolat APD Original with lead tape)…by the way which are the current specs on Rafa’s racquet (I know that he added about 3 more grams lead tape at 12 before 2017 season)? What about the racquet balance?
I’m looking forward to your reply.
Thank you!

Regards,
Viorel

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Tennisnerd July 30, 2018 - 9:27 am

Hi Viorel,
Yes, I have hit with it. Nice racquet, but a little too powerful for my taste. I would say it is comparable in a way to Rafa’s setup on his APD Original. The APD Original has a slightly different feel however, more raw, less dampened. You can feel the ball better with the APD in my opinion, but I would probably say it is less arm-friendly since it has very little dampening tech. In the end it is a matter of taste.

According to Babolat he has added three more grams of lead tape. Making it 317 grams unstrung, so around 332-335 grams strung + overgrip which adds three more grams.

Now that they are releasing his new paint job, I will add a post about this change. He has definitely been getting more aggressive power over the years with some increments of lead tape.

Cheers / Jonas

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Alberto Bergés August 3, 2018 - 6:32 am

Does he play with an L2 grip?!

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Tennisnerd August 3, 2018 - 6:38 am

Yes!

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Pradeep August 19, 2018 - 10:17 am

L2 grip seems rather small for him ?

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Tennisnerd August 20, 2018 - 9:11 am

Hi Pradeep,
It might seem so but a lot of players are using smaller grips these days to make it easier to rotate your wrist and “flick” the racquet. In the case of Nadal he has a very whippy motion so that makes sense. It is a question of the kind of technique you have.

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JPW May 24, 2019 - 7:50 pm

Hi Jonas, does Rafa use lead elsewhere besides at 12 and in the handle? Thank you.

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Tennisnerd May 25, 2019 - 6:08 am

Hi,
Not as far as I know, no. I didn’t see any on his racquet either. Lots of lead at 12! Cheers / J

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JPW May 28, 2019 - 12:27 pm

Thank you 🙂

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Dr Hemant Mody September 12, 2019 - 9:56 am

Hi
I’m using Head Graphene speed Adoptive racket at present..My main shot is cross court & spin
If I change to Babolat pure Aero 2019 than does my shots improve.. Suggest string for me too
I’m 58 years Surgeon Playing for Enjoyment & competitive too
Thanks

Reply

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