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Babolat Pure Strike Racquet Review

by Jonas Eriksson

Babolat has finally released a few more versions to the Babolat Pure Strike line with the Babolat Pure Strike 18×20, the Babolat Pure Strike VS and the Babolat Pure Strike VS Tour. I wonder how consumers will be able to keep all these different Pure Strike models apart to be honest. The VS line replaces the Babolat Pure Control line so I guess they’re trying to reduce the number of paint jobs and racquet lines on the market.

The reviews of the new Babolat Pure Strike has been glowing from the usual retailers such as Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express, but some players have expressed concerns over stiffness. I had the chance to test the Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 and I must say it was a big improvement over the “boardy” Darth Maul version, but if you’re using a co-poly string it can be quite firm on tender joints. I think this is racquet that you either need to drop string tension quite a bit (I usually string around 22 kg but in the Pure Strike I might go even lower with the Solinco Hyper G – click to read my review) or try a hybrid of natural gut and co-poly such as the Wilson Champions Choice or the Babolat RPM Blast + VS which are both top-of-the line string sets if you want both feel and spin. Also, a softer poly like Solinco Tour Bite Soft or Luxilon 4G Soft might reduce the shock to the joints quite a bit.

But despite the firm (which some call “crisp) feel, almost all the reviews will tell you that the new Babolat Pure Strike is a great option for the aggressive baseliner in both 16×19 and 18×20 patterns. I agree with that in general, but it’s definitely not the racquet I would recommend for someone who has had arm issues in the past. There are much better arm-friendly options out there for people looking for a comfortable response. But in general I think the Babolat Pure Strikes have a nice blend of attributes that will fit a wide variety of players. (However, it’s important to know that they’re significantly different from the Babolat Pure Strike VS racquets.)

Like always, if you can, demo the racquet and be aware that the strings on the demo might be completely different from what you’re used to so you have to have a slightly open mind about the racquet’s performance.

In the featured pic: Dominic Thiem is one of the players endorsing and using the Babolat Pure Strike.

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LC February 17, 2017 - 17:37

Hi, since pure strike is too firm for arm, would you recommend any other modern racquets that are more arm friendly? Thanks!

Tennisnerd February 18, 2017 - 07:51

Hi LC,
Yes, the Pure Strike is rather firm. You can always try to soften the response by using a hybrid of natural gut and poly strings or a really soft poly, but if you’re looking for a modern yet arm-friendly racquet you can perhaps look into:

* Prince Textreme Tour 100P – the Textreme series is arm-friendly yet crisp and has great feel.
* Yonex DR 98 – This is very similar to the Pure Strike but with more flex. Great option.
* Wilson Blade 98 with Countervail – This iteration of Blade 98 is more muted and comfortable than the previous. Worth checking out.
* Head Graphene Touch Speed Pro – also a more muted option of a modern racquet. Might need a bit of lead.

Let me know how it goes. If you have serious arm problems these might still be too stiff for you, but for most players looking for a comfortable yet modern option, the above frames should work great.

Good luck,

Ethan February 21, 2017 - 00:22

Hi LC, Jonas,

I have both the Textreme Tour 100P and Pure Strike 18×20. I don’t perceive the 100P being more forgiving than the Pure Strike. If anything, the Pure Strike handles off-center shots better. I added silicone to the handle of my 100P to protect my wrist.

Check out the Yonex Vcore Duel G 310. It’s similar to the above but more forgiving (less powerful though). The old Pure Control line would be worth a try.


Tennisnerd February 21, 2017 - 10:00

Thanks for your comments Ethan! Lots of good talk about the Yonex VCORE DUEL 310 G…a must try it sounds like. I was surprised to hear that you think the Pure Strike handles off-center shots better than Prince Textreme Tour 100P. I guess it has to do with the flex? Do you add any lead tape to either racquet? Cheers / J

Branko Andrews March 28, 2017 - 02:57

How does the Pure Strike compare to the old kblade 98?

Tennisnerd March 28, 2017 - 07:46

I would say they are quite similar, but the Pure Strike will feel stiffer due to that slightly more solid. The kBlade is a great stick in my opinion. My only issue with those is that they broke quite easily…

Alessandro May 20, 2017 - 13:52

Hi Jonas,

Many thanks for your posts, I am a big fan of your blog and I read it on daily basis. I am also a big fan of the babolat purestorm gt (2011), well, I was cause it is no longer in production. From my understanding, the new babolat pure strike vs (2017) looks like a very close successor (even closer than the pure control line). Any idea/guess on the main differences between the twos, if any? And if the potential stiffness issue you mention for the new pure strike line also applies to the VS, is there any more arm friendly alternative that comes to mind?
Many thanks again, and keep the good work

Tennisnerd May 20, 2017 - 15:20

Thanks for the feedback Alessandro! I really appreciate it.

If you like the Pure Storm GT, (which I do too!) I think you’d like the new Pure Strike. I need to play around a bit more with string setup to know more about this interesting frame, but if you’re looking for something more arm-friendly I would recommend:

Yonex AI/DR 98
Angell TC 97
Prince Textreme 100P

Good luck! Cheers / Jonas

Angel August 25, 2017 - 00:08

Hi Jonas,

I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks and I find it really interesting.

Reading about the Pure Strike I noticed that Babolat specifies that the stiffness of the racquet is 70 RA, whereas Tennis Warehouse claims that its stiffness is 67.

At first, I thought the Babolat stiffness was unstrung and the one in TW was strung, but I realised that the Pure Drive, for example, showed 72 RA in both websites. Do you know the reason for this difference and which is the rating I should take into account? I would like to clarify this to compare the PStrike with my PDrive.

Thanks and congrats for your work!

Tennisnerd August 25, 2017 - 07:46

Hi Angel,
Thanks for the nice words! Sometimes they’re bit inconsistent when measuring strung vs unstrung. I think TW does it pretty well, but the Babolat official website I’ve seen mess up RAs in the past as well.

The Pure Strike has 70 RA unstrung and around 67 strung.
The Pure Drive has 75 RA unstrung and around 72 strung.

Enjoy your tennis! Cheers / Jonas

Hayden April 26, 2018 - 14:32

Thanks so much Jonas for your blogs, I read them all the time!

I replaced my pure storm GT tour with PS VS tour and strung it at 23.5kg poly (same as my GT tour) – it plays so much stiffer and I think I lost quite a bit of feel compared to my old one.

Do you think your comment on the Pure Strike line stringing also applies to the VS tour? I am considering replacing the cross with Price synthetic gut at perhaps 25kg – interested to know your thoughts.

Thanks so much and keep posting!

Tennisnerd April 26, 2018 - 15:40

The PS VS Tour is really stiff! I haven’t heard much good about that racquet to be honest, very boardy. Try going with hybrid and see if it helps, but otherwise I’d look for a new racquet or go back to your old one. Thanks for your kind words! Cheers / J

Hayden April 28, 2018 - 15:08

Took your advice and replaced the cross with Syn Gut – much better comfort but harder to get the top spin I was getting…

I’m a doubles player and I like to step in on my return games – Angell TC97 16×19 or Ultra Tour sounds better?

Greatly appreciate your help and expertise!

Tennisnerd April 30, 2018 - 08:54

The Angell TC 97 16×19 is slightly stiffer and more spin friendly. I think that racquet might work better for doubles than the Ultra Tour. Both are fine racquets however.

Daniel Gaitau September 19, 2018 - 14:05

Hi Jonas, wow you have an awesome blog.i am shopping for a new racquet, I have found the new pure strike is suited to my game (I always have arm problems especially on my backhand) and find it feels fine during the demo, however you hav worried Mexicans i trust your expertise. Can you please recommend any other racquets that are easy on the single backhand joints but stil provide good spin on serve like the pure strike..or possibly keep the PS and string with a softer string..recommendations please..thank you so much

Tennisnerd September 20, 2018 - 10:11

Hi Daniel,
The Pure Strike is a bit stiff, actually stiff enough for me to put it aside after initially playing some great tennis with it. I tend to recommend the Angell K7 Red to people who want a softer Pure Strike. The 2015 Wilson Blade is also a good option and I really enjoy the Prince Beast 98 too.

You could try stringing it with Alu Power Soft or Solinco Tour Bite Soft and adding some lead tape at 3 and 9 to increase stability. If you want more wrist comfort you could also add some silicone or blu tack inside the handle to dampen the vibrations.

Cheers / Jonas

Phongvan November 22, 2018 - 07:15

Hi Jonas,
Love the review, thank you.
Which is the best option in the Pure Strikes line (or I’d put “most userfriendly” criteria – in my opinion are armfriendly and spinfriendly) do you think? And how the Pure Strikes compare to Aeropro line (on the criteria above as well)?
Thank you, best wishes!

Tennisnerd November 22, 2018 - 13:04

Hi Phongvan,
I think the Pure Strike 98 16×19 is the best one. It is less stiff than the 100 sq inch option. I would not say it is particularly arm-friendly though so string it low or with a softer string in that case. The Pure Strike has a more controlled response from the stringbed and works better for flatter shots. The Pure Aero is a bit stiffer but will give you more spin and power.

Cheers / Jonas

Nathan December 11, 2018 - 13:06

Hi mate great review of the racquet and I agree with you on many of your comments, especially about dropping the string tension on this particular racquet (I’m using rpm blast btw). Just wondering, I’m finding this racquet rather light in the head to swing through the shot (even at 310 grams with lead tape), do you think I should bump up the weight more/put the weight in the head of the racquet in order for it to become more powerful/create more plough through on the swing. Also would you recommend another string for spin?
Thanks heaps in advance

Tennisnerd December 11, 2018 - 13:21

Hi Nathan,

Thanks! Yes, some more lead in the head can work wonders. Will make it more stable. If you already have lead at 3 and 9, you could add 2 grams at 12 o’ clock and you might experience a positive difference. I loved Solinco Hyper-G in this racquet. If you want something softer, HEAD Hawk Touch is a good choice.

Cheers / Jonas

Prad February 18, 2019 - 18:02

Hi, I like your reviews a lot, very much unbiased. I’m between a strong beginner and an intermediate player. I always played with Head Ti-S6 and felt my game is not improving and my elbow and mid-arm are sore for a couple days after the game. I played with K-factor before and my wrist and palm were sore for over a week and half. I tried the babolats once and felt they are very stiff and I was not used to head light racquets, so I gave up and went back to my TI-S6. Now I’m looking to upgrade to a better racquet. So 2016 pure strike, 2015 Pure Drive (only available with midwest sports) and New Wilson clash are my choices. your recommendations are valuable. Thanks a lot in advance.

Tennisnerd February 19, 2019 - 14:02

Hi Prad, thanks. Since you seem not to like a stiff racquet, I would go with the Wilson Clash. Really easy-to-use and comfortable. Think you will like that one! Cheers / Jonas

Adam March 7, 2019 - 23:14

Thank you for your website. Amazing source of knowledge. I have a question regarding demo version of Project 17 the one they used to ship to various distributors, players, coaches. Is it a stock version with a different paintjob or something ‚special’?

Tennisnerd March 13, 2019 - 12:47

Hi Adam,
Thanks! No, it was pretty much a stock racquet. Nothing really special. Cheers / J

dj SLEEPER May 2, 2019 - 00:47

have you tried the pure strike vs + pure strike vs tour?

it’s much softer spec wise than the pure strikes. i’m currently demo’ing the vs tour, and am in love with it so far!

i’ve had arm problems in the past and have used a C10 pro the past 5 years.

thanks for all you do for tennis bro!

Tennisnerd May 3, 2019 - 15:02

Hi DJ,
I haven’t tried the VS line, but Henrik who writes here occasionally did like the VS but got some arm pain in the end.

Interesting that it works well for you! Glad to hear. Cheers / J

Jack September 6, 2019 - 15:53

hi, great post and website!
just wanted to get some advise, i currently use the babolat aero pure and was looking to change to the pure strike 18×20 and wanted to know if this would be a good move for a baseliner who naturally produces spin, looking for more feel and control with my racket.
Am i going to get a shock by switching between both these rackets?

Tennisnerd February 14, 2020 - 08:23

Hi Jack,
Thanks. It will be quite different since you will get much better directional control with the Pure Strike, but at the cost of some free power and spin. The feel and control aspect will be better though. If you want to stay with Babolat, I think the Pure Strike 16×19 is a better choice. Regards / J

Evgeny February 13, 2020 - 11:03

which from the Babolat Pure Strike 98 16×19 Project One7 from 2017 and the new model Gen 3 from 2020 year has the better shots, better power and more comfortable for the arm and basically for playing for intermediate player?

Tennisnerd February 14, 2020 - 08:22

I haven’t tried the new Pure Strike 98 yet so I can’t tell. It is weird, but after a long time of promises, Babolat has still not sent me a demo. I might get my hands on one soon and create a review. Regards / J

Zach April 9, 2020 - 22:53

Hi, thanks for the great reviews. Appreciate all the time you put in. I’m an intermediate pure strike 16×19 (98sq inch) player that suffers elbow pain against bigger hitters. If I was to try Angell out for arm comfort, what would be the closest comparison?

Tennisnerd April 13, 2020 - 06:37

Hi, thanks! Try the Angell ASL 2. Those are similar but more comfortable.

Eduardo Gavira Crespillo January 19, 2021 - 13:00

If you want to take your tennis to another level, try this PURE STRIKE 18/20 (V3, 2020). This is the best racquet I have played with. I have customized it with four lead stripes at 3 o’clock and at 9 o’clock of 10 centimeters long, and silicone in the butt, until reaching 320 grams with a balance of 315 mm. Strung with Babolat RPM Power, this is by far the best racquet I’ve ever used in my life. Better not put an dampener, so you know if you are hitting correctly. I am a senior tennis player, top 100 ITF Seniors, champion in multiple times state tournaments, both singles and doubles. I coach college and ITF Junior level players every day, with whom I have to face on the court, and with this great racquet I keep them at bay!


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