Babolat consistently provides options for fans of extended frames and Pure Aero players will have another option with the newly updated 2019 Pure Aero +. This extended model benefits from the new technology being used in the Pure Aero line. Cortex Pure Feel uses SMAC in the layup to improve vibration dampening and feel. The racquet has improved stability thanks to the use of Carbon Ply Stabilizer in the throat. Spin production continues to be massive via the wider FSI Spin string spacing and combination of oblong grommets and the Woofer system. Having already hit with the new standard Pure Aero, I was eager to see how the extra ½ inch of length on the Pure Aero + would change my experience.
The Pure Aero + was an absolute beast from the back of the court. I found impressive power from either side thanks to the stiff 23/26/23 mm beam and forgiving 100 inch head. There was so much easy power that flatter balls and more passive rally shots were a little harder for me to control. But once I amped up my aggression, the racquet took the lead and yielded shots with depth and power that were difficult for opponents to handle. The extra length was a welcome addition on the backhand side where the extra leverage helped me drive the ball through the court. I also benefited from the extra length when stretching for balls on defense. The slightly higher swingweight gave the frame solid stability against big hitters and I was able to redirect pace easily. Spin production was as fantastic as I expected. The racquet whipped through contact, adding plenty of spin to shots from either wing. I was able to hit with plenty of net clearance and enjoyed being able to use the extra air under my shots to reset defensive points and then transition quickly back into attack mode.
Volleys & Serves
At net, the Pure Aero + was a little less user friendly for me compared to the other models. Volleys I was able to get in front of, away from my body were dispatched with ease thanks to the easy power of the frame. When volleying closer to my body, the extra length made this version more challenging to maneuver and get in position fast enough. Opponents started to pick up on this and attack more directly at me rather than trying to outright pass me. The softer feel gave me a bit more confidence attempting touch volleys and created a bit more variety in my volley game. Ultimately the Pure Aero + was at its best when I attacked quickly and worked to stay in front of balls coming into the net.
Serving with the Pure Aero + showed the immediate benefit of the extra length of this model. The extra leverage at the top of contact drove the ball through the court with serious authority. My first serve came in hard and heavy and provided me free points to stay ahead in service games. Directional control was still average, but no worse than previous versions of the Aero. I was able to vary serve locations, but wasn’t precise enough for me to feel like I could serve with pinpoint accuracy. Second serves were struck with heavy doses of spin and pace. My kick serve had a nice blend of pace and a high rebound off the court. Slice serves stayed low and moved outside the court quickly, giving me the opportunity to open up the court and attack immediately.
Leveraging the SMAC material first introduced on the latest Pure Drive, the 2019 Pure Aero + had a more refined feel and smoother response. Contact, especially off center, was much cleaner feeling than older versions. While it no longer had that “raw” response that some players love, I found it more appealing to use and easier on my arm. The frame still exhibited its firm nature on contact, with the ball exiting the string bed incredibly fast. I didn’t experience any arms issues like I have with previous Aero models. This new version is still plenty stiff, as Cortex Feel simply tamps down impact shock. Players with sensitive arms should still consider string material and tension when playing with this model.
Players who enjoy extended length frames and want to dictate from the baseline will have plenty to like about the new 2019 Pure Aero +. It has incredible spin and power from the back of the court, the ability to dictate on serve and enough improvement in feel to create all court offense. The extra length amplifies the defensive capabilities of the frame and improves groundstroke and serving prowess. The 2019 Babolat Pure Aero + is a great fit for anybody who wants to boss opponents around the court and turn defense into offense in the blink of an eye.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.