Babolat Pure Strike 98
In the spectrum of Babolat frames, the Pure Strike is somewhat of a hybrid of the Pure Drive and Pure Aero. It doesn’t have the extreme heights of power and spin the others possess, but applies both characteristics with greater precision. That said, it’s hardly a slouch in either department. The frame's variable beam is also thinner than those lines, giving it added versatility. The third generation Pure Strike just tinkered with the winning formula of the previous iteration—most notably a slightly more dampened feel for improved comfort—that saw a substantial upgrade from the debut model. There’s a 16x19 model for better spin potential, an 18x20 option for those who want greater control and a heavier Tour version—my particular favorite—for players seeking even more stability and plow through.
Head Radical 2021
The Radical has been Head’s staple in this category for decades. It’s more forceful, forgiving and maneuverable than a Prestige, yet still possesses excellent command. After a recent run of firmer, more power-oriented Radicals, the racquet has undergone significant structural changes thanks to an entirely new mold, giving this latest edition more of the characteristics that fans came to appreciate from the line. The head shape is rounder to promote a juicier sweet spot and softer feel at contact, while the yoke has been thickened for increased stability. The Radical also bulked up with a 5-gram weight increase to the MP (300g) and Pro (315g) models. After extensive internal playtesting, Head determined that the added mass resulted in noticeable playability improvements. And judging from the reaction of our testers, they’re spot on. It plays great, but you’d just better be a big fan of orange.
Tecnifibre T-Fight RS 305
With the recent successes of Daniil Medvedev and Iga Swiatek, Tecnifibre frames are starting to get more attention. The brand considers its T-Fight a “perfectly balanced” racquet, combining the ideal levels of power, stability, precision and feel that serious players seek. The updated beam geometry of this latest version isn’t square or elliptical, but actually an “R” shape. This five-sided construction is designed to give the frame a sturdier backbone with more punch, while delivering a softer response. The 305g—endorsed by Medvedev—has its weight portioned more towards the head which gives it a hefty swingweight. So it arguably plays with more substance and punch than the 315g version, its heavier, more head-light sibling. Its uncommon 18x19 string pattern offers a nice combination of spin and control to take charge of its power. Whether you’re brawling from the backcourt, finishing points at net or shifting between multiple tactics, it simply delivers.