When I created my video about Pete Sampras racquet, I stumbled upon his current racquet of choice, the Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT from 2011. Here is my classic racquet review.
The Babolat Pure Storm line is discontinued these days. Much to the dismay of fans of control-oriented and plush player frames. This racquet is somewhat of a rarity in the Babolat heritage of frames. The brand is usually relying more on power and spin from thicker, stiffer beams and open string patterns. The Pure Storm Tour GT is far from a Pure Drive or a Pure Aero. In its playability and feel, it is more like a Prestige.
When it comes to flex, some people love it and some people hate it. It is another testament to how personal a tennis racquet experience can be. Many players love the crisper feel from the string bed, while others long for the days of slightly heavier racquets with smaller sweet spots. I wouldn't call the Pure Storm Tour GT a throwback, but since Babolat decided to discontinue it, maybe they would.
Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT – Strung Specs
Head size: 98 sq inches
Beamwidth: 21 mm
String pattern: 16×20
Strings: Luxilon Alu Power 1.15 at 24 kg / 53 lbs
Balance: 31.3 cm
Swing weight: 338
I managed to find a used Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT on the cheap and strung it up with Luxilon Alu Power 1.15 gauge at 24 kg or 53 lbs. It is pretty stable in stock form, but images of Pete Sampras playing with the same racquet with plenty of lead at 3 and 9 made me instantly want to try something similar. So I added around 5-6 grams of lead tape at 3 and 9 and the racquet instantly played a lot more stable.
How does it play?
This racquet is plush and has a small but sweet, sweet spot. In stock form, it is a bit more whippy, but I prefer the stability of the added lead tape. It plows through the ball nicely and the 16×20 string pattern offers a controlled, yet spin-friendly stringbed. This is really an excellent frame for advanced players with good strokes and footwork who value feel over power.
It is not an easy racquet to use by any means. You need to prepare properly and swing your racquet with good mechanics. But if you do, you are rewarded with precision and plow-through. I could simply see why a player like Sampras chooses this stick. It is buttery on volleys and great on both the one-handed backhand and the flat forehand.
This is a racquet that is easy to overlook, but it does most things really well. It is simply a joy to play with and deserves its title as a “classic racquet”.
Why did Babolat discontinue it? I don't know. They went from Pure Control, to Pure Storm and then back to Pure Control before they stopped producing these types of frames. Sadly, there is nothing like this in their current line-up. Since other racquet brands keep creating more control-oriented frames with plush and arm-friendly characteristics, I am not sure why they persist with only higher stiffness ratings.
Yes, the game is becoming more spin and power-focused, but there are still a place for these more “old-school” racquets. And this can still be used effectively today with its 98 sq inch head size and 16×20 pattern. Just a perfect spec for the player who prioritizes control and feel, ahead of power and spin.
Video review to come! How you tried this one and do you like it?
I had one of those too, back when I was looking for an easier alternative for my Pro Staffs. I felt curious about Sampras choice, has he’s very picky about racquets and was long time 6.0 user. I guy I played regularly with had one to sell so I made the move.
It’s the less Babolat-like frame I ever tested from that brand series but couldn’t adapt to it. It’s more comfortable and has better overall feeling than the Drive and the Aero series, but still feels strange, and sound strange to me. Babolat racquets, for some reason, always sound like they have a crack somewhere. Some like it, I simply hate it, so has I never adapted to that annoying “ziiiinng” that Babolat racquets do, I had to ditch it. Balance is also a bit too head heavy for my liking. I tried it with a leather grip, but still not my alley.
Now the Babolat I would like to test is the Pure Control 95. You should do playtest on this. 95 sq.i., 337 grams, 18×20 and a 58 RA. This sound very interesting.
Yes, feel is always subjective. I have tried a Pure Control 95, but it was a while ago. If I find one again, I will do a review.
Regards / J
I like these older racquet reviews. It’s nice to think about them in context of the current market of racquets, especially the more flexible modern ones.
Anyway, isn’t the Pure Strike VS (Tour) the continuation of the Pure Storm (Tour) GT mold?
I think that’s what TW’s description says, but I had understood that the VS models for each of the Pure Aero, Drive, and Strike lines were continuations of certain of these older, discontinued molds, sometimes as a hybrid with a later racquet’s (Aero, Drive, or Strike’s?) beam or throat?
The Pure Strike VS Tour has a similar mold but is much stiffer and quite an elbow-destroyer from what I’ve heard.
Can you review the new pure aero vs in standard length¿ I have read good reviews about it. Thanks!
Due to the Covid-situation, I have not been able to get my hands on one yet…
I have a pure storm Ltd gt and was wondering if you had an idea of how it compares with this pure storm tour gt.
It is much more difficult to use due to the smaller head size and sweet spot of the Ltd GT (95 sq inch vs 98 sq inch).
Which one has more control the storm ltd or storm tour gt. Or are they about equal?
The Ltd offers better control
any string recommendention ? i’m trying to find the right string step, i find hybrid’s strange in this one, i’m playing with pro hurricane tour in mains and babolat syntetic gut cross, both 52lbs.
Hey, I have this racquet and love it, I tried several newer racquets but never found something quite like it. What racquets would you recommend for me to try that might feel similar to the pure storm?
There are not many racquets currently out there that are similar. I would try the new Yonex Ezone Tour. Cheers / J
Hi, i am using the babolat pure storm gt and i am looking to buy a second racket as a back up racket. Could you recommend which racket would be most suitable?
That’s very difficult – that one is a nice racquet with an old-school feel. I would hunt for a second one on used sites and forums instead. But I’d try the new HEAD Radical MP, the Tecnifibre Tfight RS 305 and the Wilson Blade 98 V7 for somewhat comparable racquets.