Perhaps no professional tennis player is as linked to his racquet as Rafael Nadal is to his Babolat Pure Aero. Invented in 2005, the thick, aerodynamic beam with its wide string pattern was constructed to complement the Spaniard’s powerful and spin-centric ground strokes. Some version of the racquet has been in Rafa’s hands for each of his 20 Grand Slam singles titles. The popularity of its sponsor along with the frame’s playability has made the Pure Aero Babolat’s top model, with one being sold worldwide every two minutes.
So, after such a fruitful partnership, the French company has decided to release Nadal’s first signature racquet. The Babolat Pure Aero Rafa ($239) was made in collaboration with Nadal with an exclusive new graphic design. The combination of vibrant yellow, purple and orange tones were all his choices and adorned his racquet last September when he won his 13th French Open. RAFA, in all caps, and Pure Aero stand out in purple lettering on the throat.
Here’s Rafa’s take on his new racquet:
“I like powerful, bright colors, and I like this racquet, it’s definitely me. We worked with Babolat to make it happen. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s important to feel good on court. I really hope players enjoy it.”
Unlike the autograph racquets of fellow titans Roger Federer and Serena Williams, the Pure Aero Rafa does not purport to match his preferred on-court setup. It has the exact same specifications as the regular Pure Aero, only with the unique coloring and graphics. However, only Rafa will be swinging it on tour.
Players wanting to complete the look can carry the frame in the matching Pure Aero Rafa 12-pack racquet bag ($140). Both will hit stores on March 18. A junior racquet, the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa JR 26, is set to come out on April 15. The collection will be available at authorized Babolat retailers.